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Suspected vaping injuries skyrocket in Wisconsin

Posted at 5:12 PM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 18:12:38-04

A shocking increase in vaping injuries across Wisconsin has doctors desperately trying to find out what's to blame.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is now investigating 25 cases of severe lung injuries believed to be caused by vaping. Wisconsin is the only state known to have a significant number of cases.

Late last month, health officials were investigating eight teen hospitalizations. That number has skyrocketed to 25 suspected cases in just two weeks and it's no longer just teens.

Since late June, D.H.S. said 25 people have gone to hospitals across the state for severe lung injuries tied to vaping.

12 of those victims are confirmed to have pulmonary disease in these counties: Dodge, Door, Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha and Winnebago.

13 other victims are unconfirmed and are still under investigation.

D.H.S. said the cases all have one common denominator, every victim admitted to vaping in the weeks and months before becoming ill.

"Everyone's vaping now a days." said Mo Dakwar. "Just like the big vape pens, I see the Juuls."

While D.H.S. Has yet to determine whether a particular brand or e-cigarette juice is to blame, victims claim to have used a variety of substances including nicotine, THC from marijuana or a combination of both.

Late last month, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin held an urgent news conference about the initial eight teens hospitalized.

"Some of which have been hospitalized in our intensive care unit and have required significant therapy to help them breathe," said Dr. Michael Gutzeit.

Now D.H.S. says confirmed cases range from teens to adults in their 30s. Unconfirmed cases range from teens up to people in their 50s.

"I think it's kind of a tall tale sign of how we need to look at anything we interact with or come into contact with," said Timothy Wolf of Milwaukee.

Patients experienced the following symptoms: Shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough, and weight loss.