State confirms lung disease linked to vaping in older age groups

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WBAY) - It's no longer just teens who are suffering lung disease connected to the use of vaping products. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says it has confirmed cases of lung disease in older people known to vape or use e-cigarettes.

There are a total of 12 confirmed cases of lung disease linked to vaping in Wisconsin. Thirteen cases are under investigation. Counties with confirmed cases include Dodge, Door, Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha and Winnebago.

The investigation initially produced only teens and young adult patients. DHS says they have now confirmed cases in older age groups.

“We are continuing to interview patients so we can identify a possible cause,” said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “All patients reported vaping prior to their hospitalization, but we don’t know all the products they used at this time. The products used could include a number of substances, including nicotine, THC, synthetic cannabinoids, or a combination of these.”

Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough and weight loss. Some of the patients need assistance to breath.

DHS says some patients have improved with treatment, but state officials don't know if there will be long-term health effects.

The state is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and working with other states.

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