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Washoe Health Officials Warn Against Vaping

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Rubén Bagüés via Unsplash
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Public health officials in Nevada are urging people to stop using e-cigarettes as the country grapples with an epidemic of vaping-related severe lung illness. KUNR’s Anh Gray reports.

The Washoe County Health District, along with other agencies in Nevada, are issuing similar recommendations to quit by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The warning comes after five vaping-related deaths and more than 450 potential cases of severe lung illness have been reported around the country. The Southern Nevada Health District is now reporting the first confirmed case of severe respiratory illness linked to e-cigarette products in Clark County.

Washoe health Official Kelli Goatley-Seals says area youths are at particular risk.

“We’ve seen, definitely here in our community, in Washoe County, an increase in youth rates of use of e-cigarettes and vaping,” Goatley-Seals said.

Last year, the health district reported that about one out of five Washoe high school students reported using e-cigarettes.

“While this severe pulmonary illness is impacting people in different age groups,” Goatley-Seals explained, “there are more youth that are being seen to be affected with this.”

Symptoms of the illness include shortness of breath, chest pain and gastrointestinal symptoms, like nausea and vomiting. Health officials advise users of e-cigarettes to seek immediate medical care if they are experiencing these symptoms. As further investigations of e-cigarettes are underway, Goatley-Seals advises against obtaining vaping products on the black market or altering them in any way.

Anh is a contributing editor for the KUNR news team and has been with the station since 2014. She is an alumna of the Boston University School of Public Health and Teachers College, Columbia University.
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