HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Connecticut health officials are recommending residents stop using e-cigarette and vaping products after 11 people were hospitalized with severe lung injuries.
Six more Connecticut residents were hospitalized for severe lung disease possibly related to using e-cigarettes or vaping, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 11.
The first case was reported on Aug. 14.
"While it’s safer than tobacco products in terms of products with combustion in the lungs, there apparently is still significant toxicity that we’re seeing more and more of," said Dr. Michael Teiger, who is a Pulmonologist.
The Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell is encouraging people to consider not using the products known as vapes, electronic nicotine delivery systems, liquid cartridges and e-pipes “pending the outcome of a national investigation into severe lung injuries continues.”
Seven patients live in Fairfield County, three live in New Haven County, and one lives in New London County, officials said.
All patients are between the ages of 15 and 50 years old, and all are recovering and most have now been discharged from hospitals.
This comes as medical experts continue to raise concerns about vaping, after six people died nationwide from lung illnesses believed to be connected with the products.
According to the Dept. of Public Health, more than 450 cases of lung disease nationwide have a possible connection to vaping or e-cigarettes.
Experts are trying to explain the sudden rise. But Christine Mazzotta, owner of Vapor Nine, said vaping has traditionally been safe.
“THC in and of itself is relatively safe and people have been smoking marijuana for years without the toxicity that we’ve been seeing,” Mazzotta said.
She said she is concerned people will overreact and come down on the vaping industry. She is critical of some companies, but said products can also help people quit nicotine use.
"You know, it’s kind of like getting a bad batch of antibiotics and telling the whole world you can’t take antibiotics anymore," Mazzotta said.
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