Maine CDC Press Release

September 20, 2019

Maine reports a case of lung illness related to e-cigarette use

Individuals who show symptoms are urged to consult a health care provider

AUGUSTA – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported a case of acute lung illness related to the use of e-cigarettes. The case involves an adult who reported symptoms similar to those identified in other states. Symptoms have included cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, and abdominal pain.

Individuals who have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and experience similar symptoms should see a health care provider.

"This case highlights the risks and uncertainty about the short- and long-term effects of e-cigarette use," said Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah. "People who do not vape should not start and people who do should seriously consider the health risks in using e-cigarette products."

To date, federal public health authorities have reports of 530 cases in 38 other states and one U.S. territory. Seven deaths in six states have been attributed to the illness. The case reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today is the first case of the illness identified in Maine. No deaths from the illness have been recorded in Maine.

The specific cause of this illness is being investigated by health officials across the country. No specific e-cigarette product or substance is linked to all cases. In other states, most patients reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in cannabis. Other patients reported using both THC and nicotine, while a third group reported using e-cigarettes containing only nicotine.

Protecting Maine residents from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes is a priority for Maine CDC. In addition to investigating other potential cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette use, Maine CDC continues its work with partners across the state to help prevent people from initiating use of and exposure to e-cigarettes.

What can you do?

  • If you vape and have symptoms of lung illness, see your health care provider.
  • If you are a health care provider and suspect a case meets the lung illness criteria, call 1-800-821-5821 or email disease.reporting@maine.gov. Please do not include personally identifying patient information.
  • Schools needing policy or education assistance related to e-cigarettes/vaping may contact a local tobacco prevention provider ctimaine.org/resources/local-prevention-partners/.
  • Learn more about e-cigarettes in this toolkit.
  • If you've never smoked or used other tobacco products or e-cigarettes, don't start. If you use these products, help is available.

Free support to quit or help someone quit:

Phone:Call the Maine Tobacco HelpLine at 1-800-207-1230 to talk with a quit coach.
Web:Visit thequitlink.com for support, whether you are ready to quit or just thinking about it.
Support includes developing a plan to quit, texts, advice, and a supportive community of tobacco users who have quit.
Text:The Truth Initiative offers free text message programs for youth and young adults who want to quit vaping or smoking. It presents content by age group to give appropriate advice about quitting. It is also a resource for parents looking to help their children.

  • Text Quit to 202-804-9884 to quit JUUL or e-cigs.
  • Text QUITNOW to 202-759-6436 to quit cigarettes.

For more information:

Surgeon General's Advisory, e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/surgeon-generals-advisory-on-e-cigarette-use-among-youth-2018.pdf.