Wyoming health officials are urging residents to avoid vaping any products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana.
Two cases of vaping-associated lung illness have been reported to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) so far. here have been 1,604 lung injury cases and 34 related deaths reported nationally, as of October 22. Many patients have been hospitalized and some required medical ventilation.
Governor Mark Gordon directed the department to explore potential action to address the issue earlier this month. Gordon noted that the use and sale of THC products is illegal in Wyoming.
The Centers for Disease Control indicated people using THC-containing products were the source of the vast majority of lung injury cases.
“Working with Wyoming’s healthcare providers and federal public health partners to help confirm the outbreak’s specific cause and making recommendations to help prevent more illness is our highest priority,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH.
Symptoms associated with the outbreak include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and weight loss.
“If people who vape experience symptoms associated with severe lung disease, they should seek medical care right away,” Harrist said.
CDC recommendations include:
Do not use vaping products that contain THC. Do not buy vaping products off the street. Do not modify or add any substances to vaping products not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments. Because the possibility remains that nicotine-containing products play a role in the outbreak, consider not vaping products with nicotine. No vaping product is safe for youth, pregnant women or anyone who is not a current tobacco user.
A 2018 Prevention Needs Assessment discovered 36% of Wyoming high school students currently use e-cigarettes.
“We know there is a current epidemic of nicotine vaping among our youth and that problem is growing dramatically,” Governor Gordon said. “Vaping is not a safe choice for Wyoming’s youth. I’m asking them to protect their current and future health by making smart choices.”
You can find more information on the issue on the CDC website.