12 confirmed cases: DHS officials say older age groups included in lung disease linked to vaping

MADISON -- Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Thursday, Aug. 8 confirmed 12 cases of "severe lung disease" linked to vaping, with 13 cases under investigation. DHS officials said while cases in the investigation initially included only teens and young adults, they've confirmed cases in older age groups.

All of the victims reported recent vaping or dabbing (which is vaping marijuana oils, extracts, or concentrates), officials said.

Counties with confirmed cases include: Dodge, Door, Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha, and Winnebago.

“We are continuing to interview patients so we can identify a possible cause,” said Andrea Palm, DHS secretary-designee in a news release. “All patients reported vaping prior to their hospitalization, but we don’t know all the products they used at this time. The products used could include a number of substances, including nicotine, THC, synthetic cannabinoids, or a combination of these.”

These patients experienced shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough, and weight loss. The severity of the disease has varied among patients, with some needing assistance to breathe. While patients have improved with treatment, it is not known if there will be long-term health effects.

People should contact their doctor with any concerns about these symptoms, officials said.

DHS officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and coordinating with other states to make them aware of the situation so they are prepared if they have reports of similar cases.

People can learn more about e-cigarettes and vaping products, including what they look like and how to talk to kids about them, at Tobacco is Changing. There are FDA-approved medications to help tobacco users quit. Call 800-QUIT NOW for free help.