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Illinois Health Dept. warns of youth hospitalizations tied to vaping

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The Illinois Department of Public Health warns of hospitalizations potentially tied to vaping. Several young people have experienced severe breathing problems after using the smoking devices.

“Wisconsin now has 11 cases and seven suspect cases,” said Boone County Health Department Emergency Response Coordinator Ellen Genrich. “The news today, of course, is that Illinois now has three cases.”

The three Illinois cases were reported in the northeastern part of the state. In response, the Boone County Health Department sent out a health alert to all local doctors.

“[We’re] making sure that they’re aware of it,” said Genrich. “If they have patients that are coming in with some type of severe onset of illness, that they’re asking about vaping.”

Health officials say vaping among teens has increased dramatically over the last several years. The patients in the reported cases experienced respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

“The symptoms seem to worsen quickly in the last days or weeks before their hospitalized,” said Genrich.

Rockford resident Kimberly Gascoigne recently picked up vaping in an effort to quit smoking.

“I wanted to be a healthier person,” said Gascoigne. “Also, the money. If you look at the money portion of it, it’s about 80 bucks a week for a one pack-a-day smoker.”

“It’s really been helping me. I actually have noticed that I have weaned off of the nicotine just a little bit in that first week.”

Gascoigne says young people need to understand the consequences and potential dangers of picking up the habit.

“As a teenager, once you realize that it’s bad for you, you’re already addicted,” said Gascoigne. “So, then its just going to take you, it took me 25 years to quit.”

The names and types of vaping products, as well as where they were obtained, are still being investigated.

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