"While the investigation is ongoing, CDC has advised that individuals consider not using e-cigarettes because as of now, this is the primary means of preventing this type of severe lung disease", Dr. Meaney-Delman said.
That said, while the jury's still out on which exact substance or chemical byproduct is behind the mysterious afflictions, CDC has explicitly urged people to stop vaping. "I urge Kansans to be careful".
A rash of illnesses and deaths reportedly related to vaping has made headlines in recent weeks, ratcheting up scrutiny of e-cigarette use.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people stay away from vaping devices while investigators work to pinpoint exactly what's behind the illnesses.
"Many [of the affected patients] patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol". More than 450 cases - five involving deaths - have been reported.
The American Medical Association (AMA), like the CDC, also called on people to avoid using e-cigarettes amid the lung illness outbreak.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment also said a national investigation hasn't identified a specific vaping or e-cigarette product that was associated with the rash of lung illnesses. One of the more frightening aspects of vaping is how easy it is to go undetected. Other symptoms reported by some patients included headache, dizziness and chest pain. "Don't put yourself in harm's way, and please follow the recommendations of public health officials". We now know they are not a "safe" alternative to cigarettes.
American Medical Association President Patrice Harris issued a statement saying the "illnesses now sweeping across the country reaffirm our belief that the use of e-cigarettes and vaping is an urgent public health epidemic that must be addressed".
ODH issued a health alert to healthcare providers on Aug.23, along with a CDC health alert, to ask them to report to local or state public health officials for all suspected cases of serious pulmonary illness where the cause is unclear and there is a history of vaping.
The DPH strongly advises men and women to stop utilizing all e-cigarette products.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration on Monday sent a warning letter to Juul, the largest distributors of electronic cigarettes in the United States, accusing it of illegally touting nicotine pads used in e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes.