The Southern Nevada Health District on Friday joined other public health authorities in warning the public against using e-cigarettes, citing the potential for severe lung illness associated with the use of the devices.
The warning came on the heels of the federal Centers for Disease Control reporting this week as many as five deaths and 450 cases nationwide possibly associated with vaping.
Although there have been no cases identified in Nevada so far, medical experts here remain concerned about the health consequences of the little-studied smoking alternative.
For its part, the Nevada Vaping Association believes that health regulators are needlessly scaring the public by issuing an overbroad warning.
The CDC, after declaring a multistate outbreak, has not yet identified any specific product or compound that is linked to all the cases. However, many of the patients reported recently using products containing THC, an ingredient in marijuana.
Number of reported cases soars
The illnesses have all surfaced this year, and the number has been growing quickly in the last month as more states have begun investigations. A week ago, U.S. officials pegged the number at 215 possible cases in 25 states. Deaths have been reported in California, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois and Oregon.
“We’re all wondering if this is new or just newly recognized,” Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Associated Press on Friday.
Public health authorities are advising people not to use vaping products and e-cigarettes, period. Battery-powered electronic cigarettes deliver an aerosol to the user by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. Vape customers can pick from flavors such as “Cinnamon Sweet Sugar Cookie” and “Virginia Tobacco” while selecting the level of nicotine, if any, in their product.
About 6 percent of adults surveyed in Nevada said they