Contact: Michael Murphy (602) 568-0010; Will Humble (602) 538-9692
Maricopa Integrated Health System and the Arizona Public Health Association are joining forces to warn Arizona residents about the dangers of vaping. The organizations also urged health care professionals to begin screening patients for vaping related illnesses.
“We have seen severe respiratory illnesses in several patients that are most likely related to vaping,” said Dr. Dan Quan, a medical toxicologist and interim chair of Emergency Medicine at Maricopa Medical Center. “We want to get the word out to Arizonans that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous.”
Will Humble, AzPHA Executive Director, said the only way to prevent severe lung disease linked to electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices is to stop using the products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday reported 450 cases in 33 states.
“Arizona is sure to join the list because of the popularity of Juul and other vaping devices, particularly among teens and young adults,” said Humble, former state health director. “Just ask any high school or college student about the prevalence of vaping, and you’ll discover that we’re facing an epidemic.”
While Arizona has not formally reported a case, Dr. Quan said he has seen at least two patients with pneumonia likely related to vaping in the last week. He believes there are more cases and urged Arizona health care professionals to ask patients with respiratory issues or illnesses about a history of vaping or e-cigarette use.
According to the CDC, in many cases, patients have acknowledged to health care personnel recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products called “wax.” However, no specific product has been identified in all cases, nor has any product been conclusively linked to illnesses. Even though cases appear similar, it is not clear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar symptoms.
About Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Maricopa Integrated Health System has a proud tradition of being both the community safety net health care system, with a mission and commitment to serving the underserved and Arizona’s only public teaching hospital. MIHS consists of Maricopa Medical Center, Maryvale hospital, the only Level I Trauma Center in Maricopa County verified by the American College of Surgeons to care for both adults and children, Arizona’s only nationally verified Burn Center serving the entire Southwestern United States, MIHS’s McDowell Healthcare Center, the largest provider of HIV primary care in Arizona, the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic, the Arizona Children’s Center, three behavioral health centers, and 11 neighborhood Family Health Centers. To learn more about MIHS, please visit www.mihs.org.