Nationwide we are experiencing a new and alarming health concern, the significant rise in reports of severe lung disease which could be potentially linked to vaping and e-cigarettes.
At present the CDC reports 34 deaths (reported across 24 states) and 1600 cases of lung injury (reported across 49 states) related to the use of vaping/e-cigarettes.
Additional research and study are needed to confirm the potential links between these activities and lung disease, but some states are already taking action.
In September, the Governor of Massachusetts declared a public health emergency and announced an immediate ban on the sale of vaping/e-cigarette products.
This ban will last through the end of the year while the state conducts an investigation to understand the potential links between vaping/e-cigarettes and the recent significant rise in severe lung disease. This ban could extend longer than four months if the state’s investigation has not been completed by the end of the year.
Rhode Island, Michigan, New York, California and Washington have also taken steps to investigate the issue of increased lung disease related to vaping. We will most likely see the number of states who enact a ban on these products continue to grow until the health impact of these products is more widely understood.
From a patient care perspective, the CDC and individual state public health agencies rely on data reported by health care practitioners to correctly classify new cases of this issue.
Here are some suggestions about things you as a healthcare organization, can do to keep up-to-date on the topic of lung disease related to vaping:
- Monitor the CDC web site frequently, this website is updated weekly about this topic
- Monitor your state’s department of public health website for updates about this topic
- Review your departmental workflow to understand if any changes are needed to collect EVALI specific clinical information during patient care
- Contact your public health interface vendor to understand what changes (if any) are needed to public health reporting interfaces
Here are some additional links that may be helpful to you:
Documenting and monitoring the impact of the increase in lung disease related to e-cigarettes/vaping will be critical to getting the problem under control. Are you doing anything specific at your hospital to combat or track this growing problem?