CHRISTIANSBURG, Va.- – Before you pick up that electronic device, you may want to think twice.
"It may be safer, but safer isn't safe," said Bissell.
According to Noelle Bissell, with the New River Valley Health District, there's a big public health investigation underway led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We are trying to collect the devices, finding out where people got their supplies, to try to see if we can track things down," said Bissell.
And it's all because of the recent concern surrounding vaping-related illnesses. There's been more than 500 cases and nine deaths reported nationwide.
'We do have one here in Southwest Virginia that went on a developed respiratory failure and was on the ventilator for several days. He did go on to recover," said Bissell.
Bissell says there is evidence to show the activity has side effects.
"It can cause scarring in the lungs, which can lead to long-term damage in the lungs, and it can cause irritation, coughing and shortness of breathe," said Bissell.
What is even more concerning is the substances used in the e-cigarette.
"Most have used something with a marijuana type product but not all but most have," Bissell said with the lack of regulation in the vaping industry, it's best to avoid it altogether.