The number of vaping-related illnesses and deaths continues to rise nationwide, leaving health officials on the Central Coast concerned.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are now more than 450 cases across the United States. Sixty-two of them are in the state of California.
San Luis Obispo County Public Health Director Dr. Penny Borenstein said no cases have been reported in the county, but said she advises the public to "wait out the storm" and give researchers time to determine what the cause of these cases may be.
"To anyone who has never vaped before, if this doesn't convince you to not take up the habit, I'm not sure what else would," Borenstein said. "It certainly gets my attention and should get the attention of our youth."
Borenstein realizes many people utilize vaping as a means to decrease cigarette use, but to those individuals, she recommends using properly licensed products.
Pulmonologist and Critical Care Physician Dr. Michael Ryan said while research is still being conducted on the effects of vaping, the dialogue doctors are having with their patients is changing.
"We have traditionally said the long-term health effects are unknown but now that is very rapidly changing to vaping leading to a serious and potentially fatal lung injury," Ryan said.
The California Department of Public Health states that most patients with the acute lung illness reported purchasing products from unregulated and pop-up type shops.