RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - The number of cases of severe lung injury associated with electronic cigarette use or vaping in North Carolina continues to rise with 61 reported cases, according to officials with the N.C Department of Health and Human Services.
The North Carolina cases are among a rising outbreak reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 1,604 cases and 34 deaths in the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands as of Oct. 22.
The acute lung injury cases have occurred in the context of a rapid rise of e-cigarette use by young people.
Approximately 79 percent of patients are under 35 years of age, 40 percent are 18-24, and 14 percent are younger than 18. All patients reported a history of using e-cigarette or vaping products, with most reporting a history of using THC-containing products. THC is the primary psychoactive component in cannabis.
Among the North Carolina cases interviewed:
- 80 percent vaped THC
- 75 percent reported vaping flavors
- 70 percent vaped nicotine
- 50 percent vaped THC and nicotine
- 30 percent vaped cannabidiol (CBD)
No single product or source has been linked to all lung injury cases.
NCDHHS has joined the CDC’s efforts to urge people to consider not using e-cigarette or vaping products, especially e-cigarette or vaping products that contain THC.
“Those who use e-cigarettes or vaping products should not obtain them through informal sources and should not modify or add any substances,” said Dr. Zack Moore, state epidemiologist.