The Drug Education Council of Mobile joined educators and the district attorney Friday to share their concerns about the potential dangers of vaping.

Health officials and doctors talked about a recent increase they've seen in lung related ailments around the state and here in Mobile.

Susan Stigler with the Mobile County Health Department said, "Across the state of Alabama, there have been eight reported cases of possible vaping related illness, and three of those were from Mobile County. Our three were reported just last week. All three were admitted to the hospital. One was admitted to ICU and all three were late teenage years."

Dr. Karen Fagan, a pulmonologist with University Hospital, said, "We're also seeing more people coming to our office with complaints of wheezing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and those may be related to vaping. It may be triggering asthmatic type of systems."

Drug Education Council officials say another potential problem is some of the newer vaping devices look like flash drives or compacts, and that makes them appealing to children.

A new law in Alabama sets a minimum age of 19 to purchase vaping products, and District Attorney Ashley Rich says it will be strictly enforced.

Rich said, "I want to send a message to these vape stores that have popped up on every single corner. It is illegal to sell to anyone under the age of 19 and, if you do, we are going to come after you. We are talking about the health of our young people in this community and we take that very seriously."

Rich also said she has seen what she calls an incredible increase in middle school students using vaping products.

The Centers for Disease Control is currently investigating at least 380 cases of lung illness in the U.S.

All of those cases involve a history of e-cigarette product use or vaping.

Most of those patients reported using e-cigarette products containing THC, a chemical compound that makes marijuana users high.

The CDC does not know the specific cause of all these illnesses.

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.

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