North Carolina

Vaping linked to 2 patients put on life support in North Carolina, hospital says

Two people in their 20s were on life support at a North Carolina hospital — and electronic cigarettes may have put them there.

The patients are “very lucky to be alive” after they developed serious lung disease related to vaping, according to a news release obtained Friday from Wake Forest Baptist Health.

“Doctors suspect the illnesses are the result of using electronic cigarettes with liquids that contain cannabis products including THC,” the Winston-Salem hospital said.

Vaping devices can contain nicotine and other harmful substances, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Nationwide, there have been six deaths and 380 lung illnesses linked to e-cigarettes or vaping, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials say they haven’t identified a specific factor causing people to get sick.

Symptoms of lung diseases include “nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and a dry cough,” Dr. Peter J. Miller, assistant professor of critical care medicine, said in the hospital’s news release.

He says the two Piedmont Triad patients who were in the intensive care unit are likely getting better.

“People really need to be aware, since we don’t know exactly what is in these products or their origin, especially when they’re bought online or off the street,” Miller said, according to the hospital.

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