King County teen hospitalized for vaping-related severe lung disease

KING COUNTY -- A teenager in King County spent several days in intensive care after contracting a severe lung disease from vaping e-cigarettes.

According to Seattle & King County Public Health, it's the first confirmed vaping-related case of severe lung disease in Washington state.

The patient was hospitalized in August for fever, cough and shortness of breath. He was treated in the intensive care unit and released from the hospital five days later and is now recovering. The patient reported using e-cigarette products over the past three years.

The teen reported vaping nicotine with propylene glycol as well as saffron, but the county doesn't know what kind of vaping device he used or where he bought the products.

“E-cigarettes and vaping are not safe. Everyone should be aware of the risk for severe lung disease and avoid using e-cigarettes and vaping at this time until the cause of this outbreak is known,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Youth, young adults and pregnant women should never use e-cigarettes or vape.”

Duchin said people credit e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking cigarettes, but he cautions that vaping is not an approved smoking cessation measure and people who want to quit should consult with a doctor instead.

State and federal health authorities are investigating at least 450 breathing illnesses -- and several deaths -- reported in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, including THC- and CBD-infused products.

The cause or causes of this outbreak are still under investigation.

Public Health investigators identified this case using data from hospital emergency departments. Investigators looked for serious lung illness that don't have another explanation. Public Health also has alerted King County healthcare providers and hospitals to report cases of unexplained lung disease in persons who have used e-cigarettes or vaped in the past 90 days.

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