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Arizona working to identify lung diseases cases related to vaping

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services is working to identify cases of severe lung disease linked to electronic cigarette use in the state.

Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS director, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday that the state does not yet have any reported cases, but that could change.

“We are still looking to see if we have cases in the past that have met criteria, but then we’re also working with Poison Control to collect any real-time cases that may show up moving forward,” she said.

U.S. health officials on Friday said they have identified 450 possible cases, including at least three deaths, in 33 states. Most of the victims are teens.

Christ said she encourages any parents who have children who may be vaping to discuss the risks with them.

“What we would want parents to know is that if their child is vaping currently and they are experiencing symptoms like those reported in this outbreak, they should seek medical care immediately,” she said.

Those symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and vomiting.

“We are actively responding to this outbreak, so we’re currently developing a toolkit for parents and schools about the risks of severe pulmonary diseases related to using vape,” Christ said.

Doctors and health officials are suggesting people stay away from all vaping products until the CDC investigation establishes exactly what’s at the root of the illnesses.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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