Nick McWilliams reporting – With the Ohio Department of Health’s confirmation of three cases of illnesses believed to be linked to vaping, a local organization is weighing in.

The common link between cases of severe pulmonary illnesses has been the use of vapor products or e-cigarettes, although the ODH has not said those items to be the sole cause.

Director of Substance Abuse Prevention Services for Ohio Guidestone and Anti-Drug Coalition Coordinator Jodi Salvo says that the affected ages, ranging from 18 to 26 years old, are not a surprising development, in her eyes, given recent trends.

“This has been a perfect storm just moving our direction. And unfortunately, this whole vaping situation, it originally has very much been targeted towards our youth. Our kids were kind of thinking vaping was safer than traditional cigarettes.”

The ODH has urged individuals to considering refraining from vaping use due to concerns of health risks until the investigation is complete.

Currently, there are over 200 possible cases spanning half the country.

Salvo adds that with the current data reflecting high numbers of youth use of e-cigarettes, it’s important to continue spreading the message of prevention.

“A lot of it is education for our adults because I don’t know if adults understand this issue well enough to really help our youth understand this is not safer. There’s a lot of unknowns here. And, we also [feel] if people are getting adulterated products, it’s problematic.”

Other concerns relate to the use of vaping products purchased on the street, which may contain harmful drugs or chemicals.

The three cases confirmed in Ohio are in Union, Lucas and Richland counties.

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