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Gov. Pritzker, Illinois Department of Public Health Urge Residents Not to Vape as Investigation Moves Forward

September 20, 2019

Governor Supports Legislation to Ban Flavored Vaping Products in the Veto Session

Illinois Department of Public Health is Conducting Survey to Learn More About Vaping Habits

As the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to investigate respiratory illnesses associated with vaping, Governor JB Pritzker and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike are urging members of the public not to use e-cigarettes or vaping devices. People who continue to use e-cigarette products despite this warning should not buy these products off the street, modify e-cigarette products, nor add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.

“There is much more research needed to understand the short and long-term health effects of using e-cigarette products. During this investigation into recent respiratory illnesses associated with vaping, I am urging Illinoisans to avoid using these products,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The safety and health of our residents – especially our young people – is critical to our future as a state, and I’m committed to using the best science to move forward in a bipartisan way to inform and protect our residents.”

The investigation has not identified any particular e-cigarette product or vaping device that is causing the acute respiratory illnesses. In addition to the general warning of the risks associated with vaping, IDPH is warning of the increased risks associated with vaping by adolescents and young adults. According to the CDC, nicotine found in e-cigarettes causes harm in the brain development of youth who vape, and those young people may be more likely to progress to traditional cigarettes.

In an effort to prevent more people from becoming seriously ill after using e-cigarettes or vaping, IDPH is conducting a survey to try to understand if vaping habits are different among people who have become sick after vaping, compared to those who have not become sick. It is an anonymous survey that takes only a few minutes and asks basic questions about the individual’s vaping habits. The survey can be found here: https://is.gd/understanding_vaping_habits

“Public health officials across the country are trying to find out what is causing hundreds of people to suffer severe respiratory symptoms after vaping,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We would like to ask the people of Illinois to help us learn more about vaping habits to try to identify why some people are getting sick and others are not. This information could provide insight that can help prevent people throughout the U.S. from becoming ill.”

As of today, 69 cases of vaping-related illness have been reported in Illinois, including one death. An additional 13 individuals are being further investigated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all patients have reported using e-cigarette or vaping products. Many patients, including some in Illinois, have reported using vaping devices containing cannabinoid products such as THC or CBD. Cases in Illinois have reported using more than 50 different products and devices.

In addition to these efforts, Gov. Pritzker supports moving forward this veto session with strong and effective legislation to ban flavored vaping products, which are particularly targeted at young people. Vaping products are illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase in the state of Illinois under legislation the Governor advocated for and signed into law this year.

Finally, to develop a comprehensive response to concerns about vaping, the Governor directed IDPH to convene an interagency work group of state agency leaders, including scientists, physicians, and attorneys to evaluate the health impacts of vaping and to identify appropriate controls for this largely unregulated industry.

If you have vaped or used e-cigarettes and are experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, cough, or other respiratory symptoms, seek immediate medical attention and let doctors know you have vaped.

No nicotine products are safe. If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vapes, contact your doctor or call the Illinois Tobacco Quitline, 1-866-QUIT-YES (1-866-784-8937).


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