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N.H. Reports First Vaping Related Lung Injury

CDC map
N.H. was one of the last states to report a lung injury associated with suspected e-cigarette, "vaping" use. This map is of Oct. 1, 2019.

The first vaping-related lung injury in New Hampshire has been identified.

State health officials say an adult from Sullivan County was hospitalized after vaping nicotine products.

The injury was consistent with the more than 1,000 cases of vaping-related injuries associated with e-cigarettes that have been reported across the nation in recent months.

The CDC is investigating that outbreak, which has resulted in at least 18 deaths.

State Epidemiologist Ben Chan says, so far, no specific cause has yet been identified.

“The leading hypothesis is that this is related to some chemical exposure from the vaping product that's leading to injury to the lung tissue itself,” said Chan. “What that chemical is, is still unclear.”

In the meantime, Chan warns that vaping of any kind is considered unsafe.

“We do recommend that people refrain from using e-cigarette or vaping products,” said Chan. “This is particularly important for people who are adolescents or young adults.”

Almost 25% of high school-aged youth in New Hampshire report using vaping products.

Nationwide, 80% of reported patients have been 35 or younger, with 37% being 20 or younger.

Symptoms of the mysterious vaping-related illness include cough, shortness of breath or chest pain. Some patients have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. Other symptoms include fatigue and fever.

(This story was updated Monday, Oct. 7, with more information and an interview with Dr. Chan.)

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
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