Colorado currently has six cases of the severe lung illness associated with vaping, though the specific cause of the illness is still unknown. Colorado case demographics are detailed in a new outbreak report, updated each Wednesday via the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Vaping and lung illness web page.

“As our outbreak report shows, this illness is affecting mostly young Coloradans who reported vaping either marijuana, nicotine or both,” said Dr. Daniel Shodell, Deputy Director of Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology at the department. “Our advice has not changed: We want people to quit vaping until we have a clear understanding of what is causing this illness.”

As of Sept. 12, there have been 380 cases of the lung illness reported from 36 states and one U.S. territory. At least six people have died. The department continues to work with local, state, and national partners to find cases and work to trace the illness to its source. 

Public health recommends:

  • The best way to protect yourself against vaping-related illness is to stop vaping.
  • People who vape should be on the lookout for symptoms: shortness of breath or trouble breathing, chest pain, cough, fatigue, and possible fever.
  • People should not buy vaping products off the street, modify vaping products, or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • Parents should talk to their kids, especially teens, about the risks and dangers of vaping. Free resources are available to help parents talk to their kids at
  • People who think they may have been sickened by any vaping product should contact their doctor, local health department, or poison control at 800-222-1222.

“Any death from vaping is one too many.  As a county that takes great pride in its health and wellness, now is the time to pay acute attention to the vaping phenomenon that is sweeping the nation, Chaffee County included. 

We are fortunate to have vaping subject-matter experts at Chaffee County Public Health and also have access to resources and supports so that we can curb vaping behavior before it is too late” states Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County Public Health director.

According to the 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 27 percent of Colorado teens report vaping, which is the highest vaping rate in the nation. Chaffee County youth vaping rates are even higher at 44 percent.

Vaping products contain more than just harmless water vapor. They are marketed as a “safe” alternative to smoking, but the long-term health effects of vaping are still unknown. It is critical to understand the facts about vaping and to be able to role model and discuss these issues with young people.

Contact Chaffee County Public Health at 539-4510 to schedule vaping awareness trainings for your group. Contact Communities that Care and the Extraordinary Teen Council at: or 395-0344, ext.107 for other ways to get involved locally.

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