Saturday, September 14, 2019

State investigating 3, probably 5, cases of e-cigarette lung illness

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services is investigating three cases, and two probable cases, of a lung illness linked to electronic cigarettes "that has rapidly spread across the country, killing six," Bailey Loosemore reports for the Louisville Courier Journal.

Products at Derb E Cigs (Courier Journal photo by Bailey Loosemore)
Cabinet spokeswoman Christina Dettman "said she could not say where the local cases were reported or provide additional information about who got sick," Loosemore reports.

At least 380 confirmed and probable cases of the illness have been reported in 36 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not determined its cause but says "most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC," tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

"Local health advocates, however, say e-cigarettes still contain nicotine and other toxins that can be harmful to health, and a ban could prevent young users from developing future issues," Loosemore notes. On the other hand, a leading dealer of e-cigs in Louisville, Troy LeBlanc of Derb E Cigs, told the CJ they shouldn't be blamed because "It's all street-level drugs that are causing the illnesses."

LeBlanc told Loosemore that the Trump administration's announcement that it would ban all flavorings in e-cigs except tobacco would "create the largest black market the country's ever seen since Prohibition." She writes, "LeBlanc said the removal could also end up encouraging vaping users to purchase more black-market oils or to return to smoking traditional cigarettes that are proven to be harmful to health."

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