The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is one of many state and local health departments that, along with other clinical and public health partners in the United States, is actively investigating the ongoing multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette and vaping products.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest data as of Oct. 22, there have been 1,604 lung injury cases reported related to e-cigarettes or vaping in 49 states, the District of Columbia and one U.S. territory. Seventeen of them are in New Mexico.
Our NMDOH Epidemiology and Response Division has been highly responsive to the problem, meticulously investigating each case, working with federal agencies to acquire vaping supplies from patients for testing to determine the cause of their injury, issuing multiple public statements about the issue, and responding to dozens of media inquiries locally and nationwide. We have also proactively issued both a health advisory to the public about vaping lung-related injuries and an order to our department’s Medical Cannabis Program to have all medical cannabis producers and manufacturers in the state affix a warning label on all cannabis-derived vaping products.
With surprise and disappointment we read Dr. Barry Ramo’s op-ed column in the Oct. 27 Sunday Journal accusing our department of being “silent in regard to the (vaping) epidemic” when nothing could be further from the truth.