Dozens Sickened Across The Country From Vaping


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Many Americans are trying to toss the cigarettes…and move to what they think is better for their health.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating more than 150 cases of adolescents with breathing issues related to vaping.

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Severe respiratory illnesses have been reported throughout the country among people who have been vaping for weeks or months…and then coming down with health issues. Health officials are trying to pinpoint the exact cause—something more than vaping in general.

“We encourage people who, – to seek medical help if they think that they’re being affected by their vape products. The CDC investigation has not identified yet, a single product or compound, that is linked to all cases,” said Paula Collier, Health Promotion Manager at the Chattanooga, Hamilton County Health Department.

That’s why if you’re experiencing symptoms, the Tennessee Department of Health asks that you see your Dr. and that those cases be reported as soon as possible. So, What are the symptoms?

“Symptoms are: cough, shortness of breath with fatigue, um, fever, chest pain, um, and nausea and diarrhea,” said Ms. Collier.

And if you do go visit your health care provider because you’re experiencing these symptoms in relation to a vaping product, they ask that you take an unused sample of that product so that it can be tested.

“Vape products are unregulated, so unfortunately if you’re using these products, you’re taking a big risk, the vape products contain chemicals and heavy metals, and they are not safe,” said Ms. Collier.

So, although the link has been made to vaping in general, Ms. Collier says the CDC study will seek to narrow down the cause of the respiratory illnesses.

“We know that it’s vaping related, and we hope that the CDC investigation is able to uncover more specifics. For example, um, specific product, or dose, or usage or pattern,” said Ms. Collier.

The health department stresses that this is a CDC public health study and not a police investigation, so patients should not fear bringing their vaping products, no matter what they contain, in for testing.

And there’s also a warning for parents of teens.

“While the age range is fairly broad, most of the cases are occurring in otherwise young, healthy people,” said Ms. Collier.


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Ashley is a lifetime Chattanooga area resident, and a 1987 graduate from UTC, with a BA in communications. While there, he was commissioned through the ROTC program, served simultaneously in the 1/181st field artillery Tn. Army National Guard, finished Airborne school, was a member of the Scabbard and Blade military honor society and ROTC Rangers, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, played snare drum with the UTC Marching band, and played in a southern rock band called Southern Atmosphere, while working a full time job as a trainer at the Sports Barn. He also won the Southeastern United States teenage bodybuilding competition during this time. Ashley has been with News 12 Now for 21 years. Prior to working here he was a videographer, director, producer and editor at Falcon Cable TV in Dalton, Ga. for 6 years where he produced thousands of commercials and dozens of hour long features. He also worked as a freelancer and employee at another network affiliate in Chattanooga. He has operated a part time video production business from home for 25 years. He says his passion is telling stories that feature people who give of themselves to help others, and stories that inspire people to make positive changes in themselves and their communities. Ashley is ecstatically married to Debbie Henderson, and has two step sons, a daughter in law, a sister, and lots of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. His parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Ashley and Debbie are active members of Brainerd Baptist Church. His interests include weight training and cycling with his wife, photography, poetry, playing drums, and checking off items from his extensive honey-do list. If you would like to reach Ashley, email him at