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Door County Among Vaping Lung Cases

Last week, Door County was named among seven counties with confirmed new cases of lung disease tied to vaping.

Susan Powers, Door County public-health manager, said there are 12 confirmed cases in the state and 13 still under investigation.

“We are seeing cases of teenagers and young adults with lung disease who reported recent vaping,” she said. “The severity of the lung disease has varied among patients. The symptoms, in general, are unexplained shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, weight loss. Diseases such as this are reportable by state statute.”

When asked how many of the 25 cases occurred in Door County, Powers said she “was not at liberty to disclose any details about the case, except in general.”

“It’s being investigated by local as well as state health departments,” she said. “Vaping products and e-cigarettes can contain toxic chemicals that can damage lungs, and the scary part is, because these products are so new, the long-term health effects are not fully understood.”

A 2018 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that “there is conclusive evidence that in addition to nicotine, most e-cigarette products contain and emit numerous potentially toxic substances.”

“We’re all very concerned about this, and I think it’s very important that parents and youth educate themselves on these tobacco products,” Powers said.

Cases were also reported in Dodge, Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha and Winnebago counties. First reports said the patients with confirmed cases range in age from teens to 30 years old, but the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which is leading the investigation, has confirmed cases in older age groups.

People can learn more about e-cigarettes and vaping products, including what they look like and how to talk to kids about them, at Tobacco is Changing (dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobaccoischanging/index.htm). There are also FDA-approved medications to help tobacco users quit. Call 800.QUIT.NOW for free help.