South Dakota Department of Health reports two vaping-related illnesses

KELOLAND.com Original

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Health announced there’s two reported cases of vaping-related illness for residents aged 20-24 Monday. 

South Dakota joins 33 states that have reported cases of respiratory illness from e-cigarettes. Patients have respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or chest pain. 

“We will work with patients and healthcare providers to collect information to inform the national outbreak investigation and help CDC identify the cause of these illnesses,” state epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton said in a news release. 

Nationally, there’s been over 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products. Five deaths have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Oregon.

Investigation into the cases has not identified any specific substance or e-cigarette product that is linked to all the illnesses.

The South Dakota Department of Health says the Center for Disease control is investigating the severe pulmonary illnesses.

Vape shop owners are also concerned about the current surge of vaping-related illnesses. Sandra Williams-Luther owns Blown Away Vape & Glass in Sioux Falls.

She says that she thinks the illness may be caused by what people are buying off the streets from non-reputable sellers.

“You don’t really know what they’re putting into those vials that they’re buying; those cartridges. You don’t know; they’re saying now it’s vitamin-E acetate that’s in those cartridges that they’re vaping. I don’t know exactly what they’re going to eventually find out, but I do know that if it was a e-juice product that has normally been on the market for quite a few years, we would’ve seen these problems long before now,” Williams-Luther said.

She says she trusts the products she sells.

“I don’t think it’s bad for you, otherwise I wouldn’t be selling the products, I wouldn’t have watched all these people quit smoking. I wouldn’t still be in business if I thought it was, but I don’t believe that it is,” Williams-Luther said.

The South Dakota Department of Health says they’re anticipating some people with the illness to report THC use, and, so far, the majority of those with the pulmonary disease have said they used THC. The department also says investigating these cases is a little more difficult because there are no long-term health studies about e-cigarettes.

The South Dakota QuitLine offers free coaching to quit tobacco and vaping product use. South Dakotans can enroll in the program by calling 1-866-SD QUITS or by visiting SDQuitLine.com.

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