Eau Claire (WQOW) – The number of deaths linked to vaping in the United States is on the rise. On Tuesday, health officials in Kansas reported the nation’s sixth person to die from a mysterious lung disease.
As of this week, Eau Claire City-County Health Department officials say there are 34 confirmed cases of Wisconsin residents hospitalized for the same severe lung disease and damage.
Health officials told News 18 the dangerous habit can form quickly and its unknown effects are the reason for mass concern.
Across the country there are over 450 of these cases of vape-related lung illness.
The health department says there is not enough research yet on the short and long-term impacts of vaping as well as the chemicals inside just one pod.
That is why health officials urge residents to stop vaping immediately.
“At this point we don’t exactly know what’s really causing the, really a pneumonia, chemical pneumonia-like disease. Lots of perception out there of kids that tobacco is dangerous but vaping, that’s no big deal. It is a big deal,” said Lieske Giese, director and health officer at the health department.
Giese said if you have been using vaping products and experience shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, nausea, vomiting, fever or weight gain, you should see a doctor.
Giese said Eau Claire County has higher rates of kids vaping than the state and national averages.
Beside the concern of lung disease, she stresses that nicotine addiction is another major concern.
For free help on how to quit vaping, call Wisconsin’s assistance line at 1-800-QUITNOW