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Forester News

Health and Wellness issues vaping warning

The Health and Wellness Center emailed all students on September 11 to alert them to a multistate outbreak of severe lung disease associated with e-cigarette product use (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges).

As of September 6, 2019, over 450 cases of lung illness including five deaths have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All cases have been associated with the use of e-cigarette (vaping) products. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state and local health departments are investigating this outbreak.

Patients have reported symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain, some with gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea or fatigue, fever, or weight loss. Symptoms typically develop over a period of days to several weeks and can progressively worsen.

Based on available information to date, the disease is thought to be caused by an unknown chemical exposure rather than by an infectious illness. The majority of patients reported a history of vapingproducts containing cannabinoids such as THC, while others reported vaping only nicotine. No consistent e-cigarette product, substance, or additive has been conclusively linked to all who have been affected. (MMWR, 6 September 2019). 

New York State health officials have identified vitamin E acetate (oil) in samples of vaping products provided by patients that were ill. On 9/6/19 the FDA stated that most of the THC products tested contained “significant amounts” of vitamin E acetate but cautions that there is no definitive evidence that this chemical is the cause of the illnesses. 

We are strongly encouraging all students to stop the use of THC-containing vaping products, and consider stopping the use of nicotine vaping products while this investigation is ongoing. The CDC has also recommended people stop buying vaporizers, cartridges and liquids off the street or modifying vapingproducts bought legally.

If you have used vaping products within a few days to several weeks and  develop any of the above symptoms, you may make an appointment or come to the Health and Wellness Center during walk-in hours (Monday–Friday, 9:30–10:30 a.m. or 2:00–3:00 p.m.).

If you are experiencing significant symptoms when the clinic is not open, there are options for evaluation and treatment:

• Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital
• NorthShore University HealthSystem Highland Park Hospital
• Lake Forest Acute Care
• Lake Forest CVS Minute Clinic

For a medical emergency, call 911 or Public Safety at 847-735-5555.

As the investigation proceeds, important findings will be posted on the Lake Forest College Health and Wellness Center’s webpage.


Abbott, B. & Maloney, J.  (2019,September 7). People urged to stop vaping following more deaths, hundreds of illnesses. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/authorities-investigating-450-vaping-illnesses-and-a-third-death-11567794441

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, September 6). Investigation Notice. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html#local-and-state-phds

Schier JG, Meiman JG, Layden J, et al. Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Electronic-Cigarette–Product Use — Interim Guidance. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 6 September 2019. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6836e2