Ohio Department of Health, CDC looking into vape-related illness

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Reports from the Illinois Department of Public Health say that an adult patient passed away to a serious lung condition -- possibly the first death related to vaping.

Health officials are investigating the possibility of vaping being related to six cases of pulmonary illness in Ohio.

This is coming just days after the Ohio Department of Health released a report that officials are investigating vaping relating to six cases of pulmonary illness.

District four vapor owner and operator Melissa Goodwin says vaping is safe, when it is used correctly, believing it is a safe alternative to smoking.

“My main thing is, this is not vaping,” Goodwin said. “This is individuals who have produced illicit drugs, THC cartridges and they're selling them black market and they're using a vaping device in order to use the cartridge.”

At Ashland’s Bellefonte Hospital, Dr. Michael Ehrie, who is the head of respiratory therapy, agrees that it isn't necessarily the act of vaping that causes lung issues, but what was inhaled.

“The question everyone has is what did they vape?” Ehrie said. “The people that are making the vaping products say that they're not vaping the usual products, they're vaping other things. Are they vaping CBD oil for instance? Are they vaping marijuana? What kinds of things are they buying off the street and we don't know that yet.”

No matter what was inhaled by the patients, when illnesses are linked to the industry, stores across the nation take a hit.

“It hurts our whole industry,” Goodwin said. “It absolutely hurts the whole industry, and it puts a black eye on the industry. It makes us look like we're the drug dealers and we're not.”

However, according to the medical community, none of these types of products are meant for lungs.

“All these things that the kids are vaping were never meant to go into the lung, so they all have the potential to cause lung damage,” Ehrie said.

Bellefonte Hospital ran a survey of 870 middle school students in southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky and found out that 17 percent of those students said they had tried vaping.