State health officials ask doctors to report vaping-related illnesses

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Public Health is asking health care providers to report any serious respiratory illnesses they treat in patients who use e-cigarettes or other vaping devices.

The decision to collect the data in Alabama comes after a report Thursday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was investigating 153 cases of severe lung disease in 16 states that could be caused by vaping. Alabama was not one of the states in that report.

Patients in those cases have experienced symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue, health officials said. Other symptoms may include fever, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

“Too many young people believe that vaping is a safer alternative to traditional tobacco products, but the fact is, some of these devices can deliver as much nicotine in a single cartridge as in a pack of cigarettes,” state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said in a news release.

State health officials said people ready to kick the tobacco habit can call the Alabama Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit Quit Now Alabama for help. The Quitline provides free coaching for any kind of smoker or tobacco user, including those who vape. The Quitline has coaching services seven days a week from 6 a.m.-midnight.

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