AUSTIN, Texas — Health concerns about e-cigarette use have increasingly come to public consciousness lately and Austin Public Health (APH) is recommending that people stay away from the devices.

  • APH wants the community to quit vaping
  • Use of e-cigarettes have been linked to confirmed cases of lung disease
  • APH is investigating possible case in Travis County

There has been an increase in cases of severe lung disease and seizures that are linked to e-cigarettes and what is known as “vaping,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reporting. The CDC confirmed 380 cases of lung illnesses reported from 36 states, including Texas. The FDA is also investigating a possible link between e-cigarette use and seizures, tremors and other neurologic symptoms. The FDA has received more than 125 reports of seizures and other neurologic symptoms linked to the use of e-cigarettes. All reported cases have a history of e-cigarette or vaping use.

Officials are investigating more local cases.

“In Austin - Travis County, we have one possible case which was reported to us yesterday. We will be in the process today of investigating that case to determine of it fits the case definition as given to us by the CDC,” Austin Public Health’s Dr. Mark Escott said.

Austin Public Health, in conjunction with community partners, is doing extensive social media outreach to warn the community about the dangers of e-cigarette use. They also want to make sure you are aware of the symptoms linked to the severe lung disease associated with vaping.

The symptoms of lung disease reported by patients in this outbreak include:

  • Coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

The department is also said the biggest users of e-cigarettes are middle school students.

“We do see that vaping is much more prevalent in the younger population. In fact, it’s about twice that in the adult population. And we see that youth as young as middle school age are vaping. So it is really important for parents to have these conversations early,” an Austin Public Health spokesperson said.