On August 9, five days after Wisconsin made its announcement, the Illinois Department of Health issued a statement saying that six "young people" in the state had been hospitalized due to severe breathing issues experienced after using "vaping" products.
Patients are reporting similar symptoms - shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and vomiting in some cases - and some have been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
It is unknown why the reports of teens possibly sickened by e-cigarettes mostly come from the Midwest.
Dr. Emily Chapman, chief medical officer for the pediatric health system Children's Minnesota, told NBC that authorities saw common characteristics among the cases but that they "have not been able to get to the bottom of exactly what aspect of the vaping habit or product or solvent oil is causing the injury". In fact, according to NBC News, numerous teens treated for a respiratory infection got worse, not better. Although their conditions have improved with treatment, whether there will be long-term health effects remains uncertain.
"Vaping among teens has increased dramatically over the last several years", department Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.
The negative health effects associated with cigarette and cigar use have always been documented, leading to a decline in both among teens in the U.S.in recent years.
Yesterday, August 13, health officials in Minnesota made a similar announcement, saying that four cases of "severe lung injury" had been identified in teenagers who had used electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices.
State health officials suspect the hospitalizations are the result of using e-cigarettes by these otherwise healthy young people. In 2018, almost 1 of every 20 middle school students (4.9 percent) reported using electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days.
"This is an unprecedented challenge", Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in response at the time. "Or if asked directly, they may not be comfortable sharing that".