RICHMOND, Va. – As students across Virginia head back to school, the Virginia Department of Health reminds parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of electronic cigarette use.
Between 2017 and 2018, the number of kids nationwide who used e-cigarettes went up by 1.5 million.
E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students.
While all forms of tobacco use cause disease and death, recently the Department of Health said a new danger has been linked to vaping or dabbing, which is vaping marijuana oils, extracts or concentrates.
Since June 28, many states have been investigating cases of patients, primarily teens and young adults, hospitalized with severe lung illness associated with those activities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as of Aug. 22, 193 potential cases of severe lung illness linked to e-cigarette product use had been reported by 22 states.
Virginia is reporting three cases and is investigating additional potential cases.
All patients have reported vaping in the weeks or months prior to illness.
On Aug. 23, the first death of an individual hospitalized with severe respiratory illness associated with vaping was reported in an Illinois resident.
Symptoms of this illness have included gradual onset of cough, shortness of breath and fatigue that gets worse over a period of days or weeks, until the patient has to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. Some patients have also reported vomiting and diarrhea.
If anyone has these symptoms and has a history of e-cigarette use, seek medical attention immediately.