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Vaping-Related Lung Injury


The New Mexico Department of Health is investigating cases of individuals who have developed severe lung illness with no clear infectious cause after using e-cigarettes, or “vaping.” Similar cases have been reported in other states across the United States.

Cases of Vaping-related Lung Disease in New Mexico: 24

(The case count is updated weekly, on Thursdays)
  • Of those interviewed (N=14), eleven reported THC use. Three patients reported only nicotine use. This is similar to national exposure information.
  • Almost all cases (23 of 24) in New Mexico were hospitalized with 15 cases requiring intensive care.
  • Age ranges of cases: 13 – 61 years
  • Counties with cases include: Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Curry, Sandoval, San Juan, Valencia, Quay and Dona Ana

Frequently Asked Questions

What is causing the lung disease?

  • The exact cause has not been identified. However, the recent editorial Vaping-Induced Lung Injury in the New England Journal of Medicine discussed the consensus thus far at the national level. Active infection does not appear to explain the disease, but acute toxic lung injury does seem to fit.
  • E-cigarette fluids have been shown to contain many potentially toxic compounds, among them: nicotine, thickening agents, flavorings, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds such as benzene and toluene.
  • With the large number of cases of lung injury we’re seeing nationally, it’s clear there are dangers associated with vaping.

What can people do?

  • The best way to protect yourself against vaping-related lung injury is to stop vaping.
  • If you do vape, be aware of the following symptoms:
    • Respiratory problems - difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Other symptoms - fever, cough, fatigue, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Seek medical care immediately if you experience any health issues after vaping.

What should people avoid doing?

  • Do not buy vaping products off the street (for example, vaping products with THC or other cannabinoids).
  • Do not modify vaping products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.

What is happening nationally?

Information for the Public

  • While this investigation continues, people should consider not using any vaping products.
  • Resources for parents who want to talk to their kids, especially teens, about the risks of vaping are available at Tobacco Use Prevention.
  • For free help quitting nicotine products visit Quit Smoking Now.
  • Additional information for the public can be found on the CDC Vaping Information for the Public webpage.

Information for Clinicians

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