From: Danielle L. Kirby, Director
Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery

VAPING IN ILLINOIS: YOUTH INFORMATION AND RECENT PULMONARY ILLNESS ADVISORIES

The Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (IDHS/SUPR) is providing information to Illinois substance use prevention and substance use disorder treatment field about vaping in Illinois. There have been dramatic increases in youth vaping in Illinois and across the U.S. We know from the last two survey years of the Illinois Youth Survey (IYS), 2016 and 2018, that vaping rates among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders have gone up dramatically even while cigarette smoking has gone down. More information can be found in the Tobacco Use and Vaping Among Youth in Illinois brief at https://iys.cprd.illinois.edu/UserFiles/Servers/Server_178052/File/2018/Tobacco%20Use%20and%20Vaping%20Among%20Youth%20in%20Illinois%200725.pdf.

As of July 1, 2019, the use of alternative nicotine products (vaping) is not legal for anyone younger than 21. Vaping is considered a health hazard that increase the risk of long term addiction according to the U.S. Surgeon General, https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/surgeon-generals-advisory-on-e-cigarette-use-among-youth-2018.pdf. The Surgeon General also provides more information at https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/ specific to e-cigarettes and young people.

Of recent, there have been a number of hospitalizations and even deaths associated with vaping. Even though it is still not clear what may be causing these lung conditions, it is clear that vaping is common among individuals that have been hospitalized and that have died. Recently the Illinois Department of Public Health submitted a press release http://www.dph.illinois.gov/news/illinois-resident-experiencing-respiratory-illness-after-vaping-dies, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a health advisory which can be found at, https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00421.asp. The health advisory delineates steps that the public can take.

Recommendations for the Public

  • While this investigation is ongoing, if you are concerned about these specific health risks, consider refraining from using e-cigarette products.
  • Regardless of the ongoing investigation, anyone who uses e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street (e.g., e-cigarette products with THC, other cannabinoids) and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • Regardless of the ongoing investigation, e-cigarette products should not be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products. If you use e-cigarette products, monitor yourself for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and promptly seek medical attention if you have concerns about your health. CDC and FDA will continue to advise and alert the public as more information becomes available.
  • Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you who need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your doctor.
  • If you are concerned about harmful effects from e-cigarette products, call your local poison control center at: 1-800-222-1222.
  • We encourage the public to submit detailed reports of any unexpected tobacco or e-cigarette-related health or product issues to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portal: https://www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov.

The most important steps prevention and treatment organizations can take are to: 1) stay informed of the latest information regarding the lung condition at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/tobacco/e-cigarettes-and-vapes; 2) keep your communities and patients informed; 3) share information from credible sources with colleagues; and 4) support youth and adults who want to stop vaping with resources such as https://quityes.org/index.php 1-866-QUIT-YES (1-866-784-8937), https://www.becomeanex.org, and free text support by texting "QUIT" to 202-804-9884. Resources specific for youth who want to stop vaping can be found at https://teen.smokefree.gov/quit-vaping and https://www.prevention.org/Resources/27475410-f5e2-4311-b8b0-cd91e1d4cca8/So%20you%20want%20to%20quit_cessation%20teens%20young%20adults.pdf.