Lexington-Fayette County Health Department joins effort to track vaping-related diseases

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - U.S. health officials are investigating more than 200 cases of severe lung disease possibly linked to vaping.

Photo courtesy: vaping360.com/e-cigarettes/ (Vaping360) / CC BY 2.0

And now, Kentucky is jumping in on the effort to track those.

The state is working with health care providers and local health departments to collect information, including The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there have been 215 possible cases in 25 states with one reported death.

"Those are the numbers that keep us up at night," Tobacco Coordinator Angela Brumley-Shelton said.

What might be even worse are the numbers that have not been reported.

"We're casting this wide net because we want to see as many people out there, we're very concerned about any possible cases out there," Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Representative Elizabeth Anderson-Hoagland said.

That's why Kentucky announced they are joining the effort to track cases of severe pulmonary disease that may be linked to e-cigarettes.

So far, the Department of Public Health says Kentucky has not had any reported cases.

But, the large number of tobacco products used in our area has officials on high alert.

"Especially in Kentucky, because our smoking rate is the second-highest in the nation," Brumley-Shelton said.

Along with reaching out to local healthcare providers, The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is using social media to get the word out posting a Q&A session with a local expert.

It's just part of their push to educate parents, warn teens tempted by the new fad, and keep Kentucky's numbers at zero.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services asks that anyone who believes they are getting sick because of their e-cigarette, take the device with you to your doctor.

The state is working with federal partners to determine if a specific device may be causing the problem.