Physicians urged to report vaping-associated pulmonary injury

October 09, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health Pulmonary Disease 

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is urging physicians to be vigilant in reporting cases of vaping-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI) to their local health departments.

Since June 2019, 102 California cases of vaping-associated pulmonary injury requiring hospitalization have been reported to CDPH. Although the exact cause of illness is not yet known, patients report vaping the cannabis compounds tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and/or cannabidiol (CBD), and some patients also report vaping nicotine products.

VAPI is a clinical diagnosis of exclusion when infectious, rheumatologic, neoplastic, cardiac, or other processes cannot explain an acute pulmonary illness in a patient known to vape cannabinoids and/or nicotine.

If e-cigarette or vaping product use is suspected as a possible cause for a patient’s lung injury, a detailed history of the substances used, the sources and the devices used should be obtained, and efforts should be made to determine if any remaining product, devices, and liquids are available for testing.

CDPH is also urging everyone to quit vaping altogether, no matter the substance or source, until current investigations are complete. For those who continue, consumers are urged to avoid buying any vaping products on the street, to purchase cannabis products from licensed businesses (whose products are tested), never modify a store-bought vape product, monitor themselves for respiratory illness, and seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms related to VAPI.

Please see the CDPH Health Advisory for more information.

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