State health officials investigate vape-related illnesses

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO/WKYT) -- The Kentucky Department for Public Health joins other groups across the country trying to understand the effects of vaping.

Researchers are looking into 25 cases of lung illnesses possibly related to vaping in Kentucky, confirming e-cigarette usage had something to do with at least one.

Experts are taking e-cigarettes and other devices from patients to learn more about the outbreak.

Public Health Commissioner Angela Dearinger said patients are typically younger than those with illnesses related to traditional smoking.

"We usually think of older individuals who have been smoking for a very long time," Dearinger said. "This is actually happening to young people. The median patient age is 23 years old."

In the past two years, Kentucky has seen a 78% increase in vaping among high school students, and a 48% increase among middle school students.

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