MENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT PROVIDES UPDATE ON LUNG ILLNESSES ASSOCIATED WITH USE OF E-CIGARETTE PRODUCTS AND VAPING
Given the recent findings by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the possible association between severe pulmonary disease outbreaks and the use of e-cigarette products, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence (DMHSD) within the Ministry of Health, is advising residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands to refrain from or limit the use of such products.
E-cigarettes are devices that deliver an aerosol to the user by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver marijuana or other substances. While E-cigarettes have gained popularity as a "safer," and increasingly more fashionable, alternative to traditional cigarettes, experts warn that vaping causes e-cigarette users to inhale dangerous quantities of cancer-causing substances.
Clinicians and public health personnel are being urged to make special inquiries into the use of e-cigarettes for patients presenting with lung related issues.
Latest Outbreak Information
In the neighboring United States of America, as of September 6, 2019, over 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products and five deaths have been reported to CDC.
Thus far, no evidence of infectious diseases has been identified; therefore, the lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure.
The investigation has not identified any specific substance or e-cigarette product that is linked to all cases. Many patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Recommendations for the Public
While this matter is under investigation, the public is strongly urged to refrain from using e-cigarette products. It is also recommended that the public adhere to the following recommendations:
- Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette products.
- Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products.
- Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
- You should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
- You should not use e-cigarettes in a public place as it is considered to be a tobacco product. According to the Tobacco Control Ordinance (TCO) 2015, a “tobacco product” means a product entirely or partly made from the leaf tobacco as raw material, which is manufactured to be used for smoking, sucking, chewing or snuffing. E-cigarettes, according to the TCO would be categorized as a smokeless tobacco product. E-cigarettes do not contain smoke, however, they do expose others to secondhand emissions which can contain harmful chemicals, including nicotine.
For more information about e-cigarettes or for help with quitting tobacco products contact the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence on the following numbers:
338-3613 Grand Turk 338-4737- Providenciales www.facebook.com/TCIDMHSD