Jefferson County Public Health Service provides update on vaping-associated pulmonary illness


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (Sept. 23, 2019) – Increasing numbers of cases of severe pulmonary disease continue to be reported in New York state among patients who reported recent use of vape products. To date, 81 patients have been reported from all regions of New York state. Reports are being investigated through interviews and medical chart reviews. Nationally, 530 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury have been reported from 38 states and one U.S. territory. Additionally, seven deaths have been confirmed in six states.

Since the weekend, three cases from Jefferson County have been reported to the Upstate New York Poison Center.

In New York state, patients have ranged in age from 14 to 69 years old. Case interviews have demonstrated patients report using a wide variety of vape products. The vast majority of patients have reported use of both nicotine- and cannabis-containing products, including marijuana, THC, and CBD (76 percent), while some report using cannabis-containing products only (20 percent) and a few report using nicotine-containing products only (4 percent).

A wide range of brand names and packaging descriptions have been reported, and testing has revealed that products with identical packaging often have different chemical components. While vitamin E acetate has been strongly correlated with many cases, a definitive cause has not yet been identified.

Hospital emergency departments, urgent care, and primary care providers in Jefferson County are now actively screening patients who present with symptoms for possible severe pulmonary disease. Clinicians in Jefferson County have been advised by the New York State Department of Health to report all cases of suspected severe pulmonary disease potentially associated with vape products to the Upstate New York Poison Center in Syracuse.

Symptoms are primarily respiratory and gastrointestinal, and include:

  • Cough

  • Pleuritic chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Headache

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Fatigue

  • Weight loss


Patients who are experiencing symptoms and who use e-cigarettes and vape products are encouraged to contact their health care provider for further evaluation.

Neither smoking nor vaping is safe.

The Jefferson County Public Health Service strongly advises all residents to stop using e-cigarette and vape products while the investigation into the definitive cause of reported vaping-associated illnesses nationwide can be better determined. While the department understands that some people are substituting e-cigarettes for traditional / combustible cigarettes, the staff strongly recommends that people DO NOT return to smoking cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are not safe for youths, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products. While the negative health consequences of traditional / combustible tobacco are well-established through decades of research and clinical practice, the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use are unknown.

While evidence exists that adult smokers who completely substitute vaping for traditional smoking reduce their exposure to many of the toxic chemicals and carcinogens present in traditional / combustible tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes are not risk-free and are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a quit smoking aid.

The bottom line is neither smoking nor vaping is safe, and people who do not smoke or vape should not begin to do so.

People seeking to quit smoking and/or vaping should call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487) or go online at New York State also has established a Vaping Hotline at 1-888-364-3046. Quitline services are FREE and confidential and include expert coaching and support.  Quitline can provide additional counseling services well as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for people who use e-cigarettes or vape products.



From New York state:

  • New York State Vaping Hotline: 1-888-364-3046

  • New York State Smokers’ Quitline: 1-866-697-8487


Poison Control contacts:


From the CDC:

  • E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults Fact Sheet

  • Know the Risks: Health Care Professionals: Educate Your Young Patients About the Risks of E-cigarettes

  • E-cigarettes and Youth: What Health Care Providers Need to Know

  • E-cigarettes and Youth: What Parents Need to Know

  • Know the Risks: Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes: A Tip Sheet for Parents

  • E-cigarettes and Youth: What Educators and Coaches Need to Know

  • This is Quitting


From the FDA:

  • Myths for Parents & Educators

  • Scholastic Educator Resource


(Jefferson County Public Health Service)