COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health triggered a health alert Friday asking all healthcare providers “to report all suspected cases of serious pulmonary illness where the cause is unclear" if the patient has a history of vaping.

It comes as the state reports six Ohioans who have experienced severe pulmonary illness following the use of e-cigarettes or vaping. 

Health officials say there is no additional information about the six cases since their investigations are just beginning.

This comes amid a national alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about pulmonary illness linked to vaping with 193 cases in at least 22 states. Health officials say most cases appear to be connected to adolescents and young adults.

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“Besides nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe in can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including cancer-causing chemicals; heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead; volatile organic compounds which can adversely impact health; ultrafine particles that can reach deep into lungs; and flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical used to give butter-like and other flavors that is linked to serious lung disease,” the Ohio Department of Health said in a press release.

Anybody who thinks they may be experiencing serious breathing problems linked to vaping are urged to seek immediate medical attention.

“We are seeing a tremendous increase in vaping among our youth, which is a public health crisis,” said ODH Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH. “There is a perception that vaping is safe, and these reports of serious pulmonary illness linked to e-cigarette or vaping product use show that this is simply not true.”

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