Santa Rosa, CA – August 30, 2019 – A Health Alert has
been issued for lung injuries related to vaping cannabis, cannabis oils or
nicotine products in Sonoma County after the California Department of Public Health
(CDPH) issued a statewide Health Alert. There are currently no cases of vaping-related
lung illness reported in the County, however Health Officer, Dr. Celeste Philip,
has requested local clinicians to watch for symptoms, inquire about use of
vaping products, and report any suspected cases.
Since June, 36 cases
of vaping-associated lung illness requiring hospitalization were reported in
California. In Kings County, located in California’s Central Valley region, seven
patients experienced trouble breathing that worsened after an initial diagnosis
of pneumonia or bronchitis. Those patients reported vaping cannabis or
cannabis-based oils in the weeks prior to hospital admission and failed to
respond to antibiotic treatment. Medical tests for infectious disease were
The U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) are
investigating 193 potential cases of severe lung illness associated with
e-cigarette product use reported by 22 states, including California, over the
past three months. One death has been confirmed.
nationwide report vaping the cannabis compounds THC and/or cannabidiol (CBD),
and some also report vaping nicotine products. The exact cause of the illnesses
is currently unknown.
The Health Alert
requests clinicians to report similar cases to the Sonoma County Department of
Health Services (DHS) Public Health Division and collect associated vaping
products for testing.
“Although the Health
Alert document is for clinicians, we want all residents and visitors in Sonoma
County to be aware of these serious lung injuries. Much is unknown about the
risks of vaping, and it has even been touted as a harm-reduction method, which
has likely increased its popularity as a perceived safer alternative to
cigarettes. As we learn more about the cause of these injuries, I urge
individuals to limit their use of vaping products or quit using them
altogether,” said Dr. Philip.
The use of electronic cigarettes, commonly known as “vaping”,
involves inhaling an aerosol into the lungs. The devices come in many forms,
but all use a battery to heat up liquids typically containing nicotine and
chemical flavorings, but which can also be used to consume drugs such as cannabis.
Cases of lung injury
related to vaping come in the context of rapid increases in vaping rates across
Sonoma County. In 2018, more than one in four 11th graders in Sonoma County
reported vaping on a regular basis, a seven percent increase from the 2016 rate.
In April 2016,
with support from DHS, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to enact a
tobacco retail license (TRL). Prior to that, in 2014, the City of
Healdsburg passed a TRL ordinance. Similar ordinances, which include partial
and full bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products have passed in the Town
of Windsor, City of Sonoma, and City of Cloverdale.
For help quitting vaping or smoking call California’s
Helpline at 1-800-No-Butts or visit the following websites www.smokefree.gov
You can also get help by texting “QUIT” to (202) 804-9884 or text “DITCHJUUL”
Link to Health Alert: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Health/Public-Health/Disease-Control/Vaping-Associated-Pulmonary-Injury-Health-Alert/.