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The Oregon Health Authority and local public health departments are urging clinicians to be on alert for signs of severe respiratory illness among individuals who report vaping or e-cigarette use.

OHA is aware of a cluster of respiratory illness primarily among teenagers and young adults in 16 states. These people have been hospitalized after experiencing worsening symptoms, including shortness of breath, cough and chest pain. No deaths have been reported.

CDC and the affected states have not identified a cause, but all cases have reported e-cigarette use or vaping. OHA knows of no cases in Oregon.

"These serious new illnesses are another reason to encourage people to avoid vaping or to quit if they’re ready," said Tom Jeanne, deputy health officer at OHA’s Public Health Division.

Before the new illness reports, OHA was already concerned about the health risks of vaping products. A recent report by the agency details the health risks for the products including nicotine addiction, exposure to toxic chemicals known to cause cancer and increases in blood pressure.

Individuals who have recently vaped and are having difficulty breathing should seek medical attention immediately.

If you or someone that you know is ready to quit smoking or vaping, free help is available from the following resources:

800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), quitnow.net/Oregon.

Español: 855-DEJELO-YA (855-335356-92), quitnow.net/oregonsp/.

thisisquitting.com/ (youth quit resource for vaping).

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