Sullivan Co. Health Dept. confirms one case of vaping-associated respiratory illness


SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Five people in East Tennessee have respiratory illnesses believed to be linked to vaping, and News Channel 11 has learned one of those cases is in Sullivan County.

That was confirmed to us by Heather Mullins of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department.

A recent report by the Tennessee Department of Health says it now is aware of 10 cases of vaping-related respiratory illnesses in the state.

PREVIOUS STORY: TDH now reporting 10 cases of vaping-related illness, 5 in East Tennessee

Mullins could not give us specifics on that case, like what types of products were used, how frequently and the symptoms experienced.

While the CDC is still working to pinpoint the exact cause of the roughly 380 cases nationwide of vaping-related respiratory illness, she did share some initial findings.

“Because we’re still so early on in this investigation,” said Mullins, “they have identified that most of the cases have utilized some sort of THC product in their vaping device, but there are still some other cases that have used a THC product and a nicotine product and then there’s some cases who only use nicotine.”

Still, Mullins said there is not enough information.

“There’s still just a lot that we don’t know in regards to vaping just because it’s such a new thing,” she said.

At this time, the CDC is also recommending to avoid buying second-hand products off the street.

“Like jumping from the 16th floor of the Empire State Building or jumping from the 10th floor of the Empire State Building,” said Dr. Hadii Mamudu with East Tennessee State’s Public Health Department, “either way, you may end up being harmed.”

With so much uncertainty surrounding vaping, Dr. Hadii Mamudu with ETSU Public Health is concerned by the findings of a recent report conducted by his department.

“We found the prevalence of vaping among school-going children to be around 11 to 13%, compared to around 5% when it comes to traditional tobacco,” said Dr. Mamudu.

Mullins said the CDC is reviewing cases base on amount of vaping use, type of substance used and type of product, in addition to the respiratory symptoms experienced.

Health officials recommend if you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness and are also using vaping products or e-cigarettes, contact your doctor immediately.

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