Five Patients In Md. Suffer Lung Illnesses After Vaping, Using E-Cigarettes

Health Officials are trying to find out why.


Baltimore, Md (KM) Five patients in Maryland who used e-cigarettes or vaped have come down with lung illnesses, and the State Department of Health wants to know if it’s related to vaping.

Deputy Secretary Fran Phillips says the symptoms  included difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath when breathing or coughing. “And they don’t have any other apparent cause. So it’s an unexplained cause, not an underlying medical problem, not an infection,” says Phillips. “But they have a history of having vaped various products in advance of this illness.”

None of these cases has been fatal, she says.

Across the country, there have been about 200 cases of vaping-related illnesses reported in 22 states, resulting in at least one death, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

Most people might say vaping or using e-cigarettes was the cause, but Phillips says that link has not yet been determined. “Vaping reports have come forward just in the last month or so. So whether or not there’s some contamination in the product line, in the manufacturer, in the batch, we just have not put all the pieces together at this point,” she says.

While the cause of the lung illnesses of these five patients is not certain, Phillips says health professionals are concerned about vaping, and the use of e-cigarettes. “All of them had a history of inhaling either e-cigarettes or through other kinds of vaping devices, whether that would have been inhaling nicotine, or THC. Some had inhaled marijuana through those  vaping devices. That was the commonality in all these cases,” she says.

“What people are doing when they’re vaping is they’re inhaling deep into their lungs micro-particles of chemicals, a full understanding of which is not known at this time,” Phillips adds.

The Maryland Department of Health is asking physicians and hospital staffs who encounter patients with severe lung illnesses to ask them if they vape. “And, in fact, if this looks like a case, contact the local health department. And that’s where we’re developing this surveillance effort so that we have a better handle on this,” says Phillips.

For free help on how to stop smoking tobacco products, or using e-cigarettes or vaping devices, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.


By Kevin McManus