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Alabama health officials investigating 15 reported cases of lung-related illness linked to vaping

There are now 530 people who have lung illnesses linked to vaping in the United States.

Posted: Sep 19, 2019 6:20 PM
Updated: Sep 19, 2019 6:42 PM

The Food and Drug Administration confirms it has now launched a criminal investigation focusing on the supply chain for lung-related illnesses linked to vaping.

At least 530 people have a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping and in Alabama, state health officials are looking into 15 possible cases.

John Hurd is the owner of Mystik Vape, a vape shop in Hartselle.

He tells WAAY 31 he has seen a lot of growing concern in his customers, some even reaching out to see if they will get sick due to the health cases being investigated.

The Alabama Department of Public Health has identified approximately 15 people in the state of Alabama who are under investigation for lung-related illness from using e-cigarettes.

Karen Landers, the Assistant State Health Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health, tells WAAY 31 the department is concerned with those who vape and looking into any possible cases.

"We're looking not only at purchased stores, but also any potential purchases off the black market. We do advise people that purchasing off the street is not a good idea either," said Landers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently investigating 535 cases, all of them involving vaping or e-cigarettes. Officials say some of these cases involve e-cigarette use that contains nicotine, THC and illegal products found on the black market.

"It's the black market, THC cartridges that's being cut with vitamin E oil, and none of our juices here carry anything like that," said Karen Butler, who works at Mystik Vape. 

Hurd said vaping has helped several of his customers quit smoking tobacco products.

"We have people that range from 20-70 years old that's been successfully gotten off cigarettes because of vaping. We just want to make sure that their choice is still available to them," said Hurd.

Hurd said the ingredients in his products are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and he gets his products from national distributors.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is urging anyone who vapes and has symptoms of shortness of breath, coughing or fatigue to contact their doctors.

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