Physicians at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services confirmed this week that two more cases of pulmonary illness related to the use of vaping products or flavored e-cigarettes.

State Epidemiologist Laura Williamson provided details.

“We have identified two additional cases of e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury, so that brings our total number of cases that we have identified as five, including one death,” said Williamson. “One of the patients is a Lake County resident in their 30’s, while the other is a Cascade County resident in their teens. As we see the increase in the number of those affected by these conditions our message remains the same, that we discourage anyone to use e-cigarettes or vaping products, as this is the best way to reduce your risk of vaping associated lung injury.”

State Medical Officer, Dr. Greg Holzman said the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta have provided clear guidelines on the use of e-cigarettes.

“They have noticed that a majority of cases, although not all, have reported THC-containing products,” said Holzman. “What that exactly is going to mean we don’t know, yet still 11 percent report exclusively using nicotine containing products. The issue could very well be something that is being used with those products, but there is still no clear substance or substances causing this issue.”

Montana Governor Steve Bullock attempted to enact a ban on the sales of flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products that was due to begin on October 22, but a Ravalli County District Court judge blocked the ban pending a hearing.

DPHHS Public Information Officer Jon Ebelt said the issue could be decided this week.

“There is a court hearing scheduled for Wednesday in Hamilton, and that will address the emergency ruling that banned flavored e-cigarette products,” said Ebelt. “We will have our lawyers at the proceeding and we are confident in the case they are presenting.”

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