The Health Department of the City of Milwaukee urges everyone to immediately stop vaping, 16 people hospitalized for chemical pneumonia


MILWAUKEE, WI – The city of Milwaukee has issued a severe warning to residents: Stop vaping immediately, CNN reported.

The notice was released after 16 people in Wisconsin were hospitalized for chemical pneumonia, a serious disease causing inflammation of the lungs, the health department of Milwaukee said.

All said they should be vaping or "buffered" – by inhaling powerful marijuana-based products – before being hospitalized, the department said.

The link between vaping and respiratory disease is not fully understood, officials said, but at the same time, they advise residents to stop eating vape, electronic cigarettes and products containing liquid THC.

The cases are scattered across 10 counties in Wisconsin and 15 more cases are still under investigation for their connection with vaping, said the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The first symptoms of chemical pneumonia should not cause alarm: coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue and fever. But the disease may also present more serious symptoms, such as anorexia and chest pain, which worsen in the days leading up to hospitalization, health officials said.

A man died of a lung disease linked to the vape last week.

At least 193 cases of lung disease related to vapor inhalation have been reported in 22 states, a rapidly growing number, last week announced the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first death related to the vape occurred last week. A man from Illinois has died of lung problems related to his use of the electronic cigarette, state officials said.

Illinois is leading the vape-related diseases, with 22 confirmed cases and 12 more potentials, the CDC said. Wisconsin is following closely and its numbers are increasing.

Most Wisconsin patients are young, many of whom were healthy before they were hospitalized.

Some of them were so seriously ill that they were placed under artificial ventilation, said CNN's Thomas Haupt, of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, respiratory epidemiologist, earlier this month. .

While the responsibility for vaping is attributable to those responsible, officials are unaware of the chemicals in electronic cigarettes that cause harm. The CDC noted that many patients reported using products containing THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis.

RELATED: Concerns of Secondary Vapor Smoke and Exposure to Harmful Toxins Increase in Adolescents: Study

"The only thing at this point is vaping, but we do not know what they did, where they had their vaping liquid," Haupt said. "All this must be determined at this stage."

Electronic cigarette companies are criticized for targeting young people

Although the use of vape has increased dramatically across the United States, health officials are primarily concerned with tackling the "vaping epidemic" in American schools.

RELATED: Vaping concerns in adolescents increase with reports of lung lesions

One in five high school students use electronic cigarettes, the CDC reported. The devices are unobtrusive and come with sweet flavors, which makes them more attractive to young people than cigarettes. But if many vapes give up smoking, they often contain as much nicotine.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has filed lawsuits against eight electronic cigarette companies for their role in "the vaping epidemic" among high school and college students in the state. The suits blame companies for targeting underage users by advertising on social media and offering candy and ice cream flavors.

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