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Utah tally of lung damage cases linked to vaping increases

September 3, 2019
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FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2014, file photo, a man exhales vapor as he demonstrates the use of his electronic cigarette in Salt Lake City. Utah health officials say they have confirmed 28 cases of lung damage linked to vaping and are investigating 14 more potential cases. The state Department of Health announced the new number Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, a jump from the 21 cases in teenagers and young adults reported last week. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
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FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2014, file photo, a man exhales vapor as he demonstrates the use of his electronic cigarette in Salt Lake City. Utah health officials say they have confirmed 28 cases of lung damage linked to vaping and are investigating 14 more potential cases. The state Department of Health announced the new number Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, a jump from the 21 cases in teenagers and young adults reported last week. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An outbreak of lung damage linked to vaping grew in Utah as state health officials on Tuesday reported 28 confirmed cases and said they were investigating 14 other potential cases.

The numbers from the Utah Department of Health marked a jump from the 21 cases in teenagers and young adults reported last week.

Officials said they expect those numbers will keep climbing, with symptoms including coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

Federal health officials were investigating at least 215 possible cases of breathing ailments linked to vaping devices across 25 states.

In Utah, victims of the damage have reported using electronic products to consume nicotine or marijuana products, said Keegan McCaffrey, an epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health.

Officials did not disclose a cause for the outbreak but said they were analyzing chemicals involved in vaping.

Many of the products in question were purchased on the street.

There were also reports of people buying vape products at out-of-state smoke shops. McCaffrey said officials were especially concerned about teenagers illegally purchasing vape cartridges filled with THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.

Patients were in their mid-20s and younger, McCaffrey said, with the pool representing habitual users and people who said they vaped infrequently.

Many have been hospitalized and their conditions improved after treatment, but it’s too soon to determine the long-term health effects of vaping, McCaffrey said.

Federal health officials warned the public to avoid e-cigarettes.

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