Colorado just saw its first cases of people being hospitalized for vaping.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) reported that the first case of severe lung illness caused by vaping happened on Tuesday. A second case occurred on Thursday.
“All [patients have] reported vaping liquids or oils that contained either nicotine, marijuana, CBD, synthetic marijuana, or a combination of these,” CDPHE stated in a press release.
Nationwide, there are at least 153 possible cases of this lung illness caused by vaping. The illness has also appeared in California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and ten other states. Last week alone, nearly three dozen cases were reported just between Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. California health officials have also started investigating 21 cases of lung illnesses thought to be caused by vaping unlicensed cannabis and CBD oil.
"It is a big deal in that we're trying to be sure that we're not missing anything," Dr. Tista Ghosh, CDPHE’s Chief Medical Officer, told a local news affiliate. "A lot of these cases are seriously ill, hospitalized, on respirators. They're not breathing on their own."
Gallery — Here's What Fake Vapes Look Like:
Doctors aren’t sure what’s causing the illness. Heavy metal, pesticide, or residual solvent contamination have all been considered, but medical professionals have not yet pinpointed a precise cause.
“Since [CDPHE] has been actively notifying providers and hospitals of the symptoms, we expect we may get more reported cases,” Ghosh warned in a press release.
Colorado has one of the highest rates of teen vaping in the nation, though underage vaping isn’t just limited to the Centennial State. Earlier this week, parents concerned about teens’ access to vape devices protested outside the New York office for JUUL, a popular handheld vape pen manufacturer.
In June, the city of San Francisco banned all sales of nicotine vape devices and e-cigarettes. Ironically, JUUL’s headquarters is located in San Francisco, too.
Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter