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Vaping Illness Cases Rise To 12 In New Mexico

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There are more cases of vaping-related illnesses appearing all over the country, and New Mexico is no exception. 

The state Department of Health confirmed the first local case of vaping-related lung disease in mid-August. Now the total stands at 12.

 

“So this is very severe lung disease, particularly affecting younger people,” said Heidi Krapfl, an epidemiologist with DOH.

She said the state has linked all but one of these cases to vape pens that contain THC – the active ingredient in marijuana that gets you high. 

“We’re really discouraging people from vaping with THC especially,” she said.

 

Krapfl says all of the vaping products in question were bought off the street.

The folks who’ve become sick in New Mexico range in age from 17 to 46 and live in four counties, including Santa Fe and Los Alamos. Symptoms of this illness include shortness of breath, nausea and fever.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not named a specific brand, type of vape pen or ingredient that’s causing this disease, but warns young folks and pregnant women against vaping.

 

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Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.

May joined KUNM's Public Health New Mexico team in early 2018. That same year, she established the New Mexico chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and received a fellowship from the Association of Health Care Journalists. She join Colorado Public Radio in late 2019.
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