The Philippines on Friday reported its first case of lung injury from the use of electronic cigarettes, which have become popular in the country despite warnings against vaping.
The patient is a 16-year-old girl from the central region of Visayas, who was admitted in hospital on Oct. 21 for “sudden onset of severe shortness of breath,” the Department of Health said.
She was initially thought to have a lung infection, but upon further evaluation, her case met the criteria for “electronic cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury” based on the guidelines by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, the department said.
The teenager was found to have used electronic cigarettes daily for four months. After that time, she also smoked traditional cigarettes.
The patient has been discharged and has stopped smoking, the department said.
Health authorities have been urging people to avoid vaping or electronic cigarettes, stressing they were not healthy alternatives to smoking.
The first case was confirmed as the Philippines’ Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) battled injunction orders against a directive requiring manufacturers of electronic cigarettes and vapes to remove harmful substances from their products.
The FDA order was supposed to take effect on Oct. 24, but manufacturers filed appeals with the regional trial courts.
Under the directive, the FDA was requiring manufacturers to remove such substances as cinnamaldehyde and diacetyl, which prevent the lungs from removing toxins.
A group of health advocates has been urging Philippine legislators to pass bills increasing taxes on electronic cigarettes and vapes as part of efforts to discourage their use.
U.S. health officials on Thursday reported 2,172 confirmed and probable cases and 3 more deaths from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping, taking the death toll to 42, so far this year.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 2,051 confirmed and probable U.S. lung injury cases and 39 deaths associated with use of e-cigarettes, or vaping products.