SEATTLE — The first case of a severe lung and respiratory issue contributed to e-cigarettes has been confirmed in King County, according to the state Department of Health.
Department officials said one teen was hospitalized in August for five days for "acute respiratory failure." Essentially, the teen wasn't getting enough oxygen through the lungs and into his bloodstream.
He has since been released.
The teen's health care provider attributed his illness to the use of e-cigarettes and inhaling potential toxins that come from them.
According to Dr. Jeff Duchin, a health officer for Public Health Seattle & King County, the teen had been vaping for three years before he started exhibiting symptoms. At that time, he was not legally of age to purchase e-cigarettes.
The teen told his health care provider that he used nicotine and saffron in his vaping cartridge, Duchin said.
It is not known if the teen used other products or substances.
Zach Mclain, the owner of Future Vape in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, said the recent vaping-related illnesses are worth being concerned about. Mclain emphasized educating yourself about the product and said one of the best ways a consumer can protect themselves is to go to a vape-specific shop and ask questions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said six people have died due to "vaping-related illnesses" nationwide.
In response to the deaths, President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday a proposal to ban thousands of flavorings used in e-cigarettes
State and federal health authorities are investigating hundreds of breathing illnesses reported in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
No single device, ingredient or additive has been identified.
In response to federal proposals, Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted:
Dr. Kathy Lofy, a state health officer with the Washington State Department of Health, said the department sent letters to health providers asking them to report any patients who may have had symptoms. Using that data, the state is hoping to further understand what is making people ill.
Nationwide,150 cases of severe lung disease attributed to vaping have been reported, Lofty said. Some of those who became ill said symptoms developed over a few days and others said they started seeing symptoms over a few weeks.
Most of the illnesses came from THC oil in the cartridge.
Both national and state health officials urge people to stop vaping until researchers can figure out what exactly is making people sick.