Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued a consumer alert Friday, urging Illinois residents to avoid using e-cigarette or vape devices after several reported instances of users becoming seriously ill and being hospitalized after using the products.
In particular, children, young adults, pregnant women, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not use e-cigarettes, he said in press release.
Since June, approximately 300 residents of 23 states have been hospitalized after experiencing severe respiratory problems and other worsening symptoms after using e-cigarette or vape products.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 27 cases have been reported in Chicago and Champaign, as well as Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Madison, McHenry, Peoria, St. Clair, Tazewell, Will, and Winnebago counties. Cases involve people between the ages of 17 and 38 and have resulted in one fatality.
Symptoms experienced by people who have become ill range from difficulty breathing, coughing and fatigue, to vomiting and diarrhea. People who have been hospitalized reported that their symptoms worsened in the days or weeks after using e-cigarettes or vape products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that many patients, including some in Illinois, reported vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) before experiencing symptoms.
Although the reported illnesses have not been linked to any particular e-cigarette or vape product, no e-cigarette or vape product has been conclusively eliminated as a potential source of the illnesses.
Raoul has joined with attorneys generals in four other states and the District of Columbia investigating how the e-cigarette make Juul’s blockbuster vaping device became so popular with underage teens, The Associated Press has learned.
Juul’s top executives have disputed allegations that they’ve marketed their products to teens, declaring that they’ve taken unprecedented steps to combat underage use of its e-cigarettes.