Health providers get guidance on vaping injuries

With 1,299 reported cases of lung injuries associated with vaping and electronic cigarettes across the nation, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday announced interim guidelines for health-care providers treating people who have the conditions.

The cases included 26 deaths reported from 21 states, including Florida. The guidelines are meant to give providers guidance during the initial assessment, evaluation, management and follow-up of people who have the lung injuries The CDC also reiterated a previous recommendation that people reconsider using vaping and electronic cigarette products.

The federal government is advising health-care providers who are treating patients suspected of having the injuries to “ask about the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products in a nonjudgmental and thorough manner.” In certain instances, the CDC recommended that patients be hospitalized.

The CDC recommended tobacco-product cessation strategies, including behavioral counseling, so patients can stop vaping. “To reduce the risk of recurrence, patients who have been treated … should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products,” the CDC said in its weekly report.

The injuries have been reported in 49 states, the District of Columbia and one territory. Based on a review of 1,043 patients, 70 percent of the people with the lung injuries were male, ranging from ages 13 to 75.

The CDC has not been able to definitively identify any single ingredient that is causing the injuries but said data suggests that products containing THC --- the euphoria-inducing ingredient in marijuana --- “play a role in this outbreak.” Nicotine products have not been excluded as a possible cause.

Among 573 patients who offered detailed information about vaping, 32 percent reported exclusive use of THC-containing products, and 13 percent reported exclusive use of nicotine-containing products.