Alabama Health Department investigates lung illnesses tied to vaping

The Alabama Health Department is in the process of investigating nearly half a dozen possible breathing illnesses tied to vaping.

Posted: Sep 8, 2019 7:23 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2019 10:35 AM

The Alabama Health Department is in the process of investigating nearly half a dozen possible breathing illnesses tied to vaping. In Tennessee, health officials are reporting 6 cases.

Doctors are reporting hundreds of people across the country are suffering severe lung illness. At least 5 people have died. Now, state and federal officials are trying to figure out why.

''We are seeing the very tip of the iceberg. If these products are being used in all 50 states, I think it's just a matter of time until we see health cases in all 50 states," youth tobacco prevention coordinator Anne Marie Martin said.

She says her biggest issue is people not being informed about the dangers of vaping. Now, she's trying to change that.

"I quit cold turkey," Hughes said.

Angela Hughes quit smoking cigarettes 10 years ago after her grandmother passed away with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She knows how hard it is for people to quit,

"It's hard. It's really hard. I mean I chewed gum for 2 weeks straight. It was rough," Hughes said.

She's never vaped before. She says she thought it was a safer alternative at first, but now she's worried about what vapers are putting in their bodies.

"I mean you go down the road and you see people have this big old vape cloud, and you just wonder what is in that?" Hughes said.

Anne Marie Martin is the youth tobacco prevention coordinator at partnership for a drug-free community. She says it's scary how quickly the number of deaths and cases are increasing. That's why her job to inform people in the community is so important.

"We don't know how bad this could be. People need to be careful," Martin said.

Health officials say no single vaping device, liquid or ingredient has been tied to all the illnesses. Martin says the chemicals in the vaping liquid can cause enough damage on their own.

"You're getting a lot of nicotine. Also, the flavors. Even for an e-cigarette that doesn't contain nicotine, some of the flavoring chemicals can scar your lungs," Hughes explained.

Martin says if people like Hughes want to quit there are other proven methods to help them kick their habit.

"If you want to quit smoking, Alabama quit line has some programs that are proven to stop smoking," Martin said.

Health officials are urging people to stop vaping until they figure out what's making people sick.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12486232
Mobile9420204
Montgomery6449148
Madison516130
Tuscaloosa405769
Baldwin338023
Unassigned319060
Shelby316432
Marshall306034
Lee258844
Morgan229517
Etowah204128
DeKalb174513
Calhoun167213
Elmore167238
Walker149864
Houston134812
Dallas130523
St. Clair128915
Russell12772
Limestone126113
Franklin123820
Cullman118912
Colbert114113
Lauderdale112315
Autauga105021
Escambia104416
Talladega96713
Jackson9244
Tallapoosa84179
Chambers83538
Dale80223
Blount7593
Butler75635
Chilton7456
Coffee7365
Covington71620
Pike6877
Lowndes56724
Barbour5655
Marion56224
Marengo53614
Clarke4949
Hale46426
Bullock45011
Winston44011
Perry4364
Wilcox41410
Bibb4134
Monroe4084
Randolph39410
Conecuh37810
Pickens3779
Sumter36018
Lawrence3321
Macon32013
Washington32012
Crenshaw3123
Choctaw27712
Cherokee2587
Greene24911
Henry2493
Geneva2480
Clay2375
Lamar2122
Fayette1835
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
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Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 116350

Reported Deaths: 1186
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby22212300
Davidson20001211
Rutherford629853
Hamilton588449
Knox429837
Williamson340525
Sumner331672
Unassigned30368
Out of TN283116
Wilson219023
Bradley181712
Montgomery181513
Sevier17916
Putnam167716
Trousdale15786
Robertson150619
Hamblen134614
Blount12229
Maury11597
Tipton11559
Washington11312
Madison98415
Bedford90111
Sullivan89512
Hardeman85815
Macon85513
Lake7650
Loudon7053
Bledsoe6861
Dickson6521
Fayette6528
Anderson6516
Gibson6444
Dyer5937
Cheatham5697
Lawrence5276
Jefferson5253
Henderson5172
Rhea5171
McMinn50920
Obion4904
Coffee4823
Warren4794
Carter4735
Lauderdale4558
Hardin4447
Cocke4392
Haywood4356
Smith4294
Roane4232
Greene4187
Hawkins4167
Cumberland3986
Monroe3979
Giles36913
Weakley3633
McNairy3515
DeKalb3312
Franklin3024
Marshall2753
Carroll2723
Lincoln2681
Crockett2534
Henry2480
Hickman2480
White2465
Claiborne2420
Campbell2291
Johnson2250
Wayne2242
Marion2134
Chester2062
Grainger1890
Decatur1883
Polk1853
Overton1551
Unicoi1480
Union1410
Cannon1360
Benton1261
Humphreys1183
Jackson1121
Scott1100
Grundy1082
Sequatchie1000
Meigs990
Morgan981
Fentress790
Hancock771
Perry770
Stewart740
Clay710
Lewis671
Houston560
Moore550
Van Buren350
Pickett301

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