Cobb County

Vaping-related lung illnesses now being reported in Georgia

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Public Health says they are investigating possible cases of severe respiratory illness in individuals who reported vaping.

The agency did not reveal how many cases or where the cases are located.

At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first death in Illinois related to the outbreak of severe lung disease in those who use e-cigarette or vaping devices.

Nationwide, nearly 200 respiratory illness cases are linked to vaping.

A family physician in Cobb County told Channel 2's Tom Regan he is saddened but not surprised by the outbreak.

"We know these vaping products contain acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, which are carcinogens. What we are finding is that people who are vaping, are coming in with similar symptoms to 'popcorn lung,' which is shortness of breath, chest pain and wheezing," said Dr. Saju Mathew, family physician with the Piedmont Physicians Group.


Vaping advocates say ingesting vapors is far less harmful that smoking cigarettes and can help people break the habit.

They believe some of the respiratory illness cases may have been caused by excessive vaping, defective vaping devices or tainted juice containing CBD or THC.

"There have been some reports with some cartridges, the coil on the inside kind of deteriorates, and that's what causing the respiratory problems. There's also been people who have been buying them on the street as opposed to a verified shop," vape shop manager Brendan Bagwell told Regan.

Doctors say there isn't much in-depth research on the long-term effects of vaping.

"A lot of it is unknown. So, the question really is, what's going to happen 10 to 15 years down the road? There's so many unknown risks to vaping," Mathew said.