Mystery vaping illness symptoms explained

  • St Mary's County
  • By

Leonardtown, MD  -- The St. Mary's County Health Department is warning anyone who uses e-cigarettes to promptly seek medical care if they experience any of the following symptoms.

  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • pain when breathing
  • wheezing
  • coughing up blood

These and other symptoms including, fever, chills, nausea, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain have been linked to a multistate outbreak of severe lung illness and death associated with use of e-cigarette/vaping products .

This mystery illness is currently under investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners.

This investigation is ongoing and has not identified a single cause, but all reported cases have a history of using e-cigarette/vaping products. People who have become ill have reported using a range of products, including those with cannabis-derived components (THC or CBD), and nicotine.

While this investigation is ongoing, the St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) strongly advises against the use of these products. 

“Because the cause of this outbreak is unknown, the best way to keep yourself safe is to not use e-cigarettes or vapes,” said Angela Cochran, Director of Chronic Disease Prevention & Control at SMCHD. “We offer free help for anyone who wants to quit vaping or using other tobacco products.” For more information on resources to help you quit, visit or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Regardless of the ongoing investigation, the CDC has made the following recommendations regarding e-cigarettes:

  • Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette products.
  • Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products.
  • Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
  • If you do use e-cigarette products, you should not buy these products off the street (for example, e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids).
  • You should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications.

If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your medical provider or local health department.

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