Two Idaho patients have developed serious respiratory disease after using electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices, the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare reports; both patients are between the ages of 15 and 30, and one is a minor.

Nationwide, 450 possible cases have been reported in 33 states and one U.S. territory, and in other states, five deaths have been reported. The two Idaho patients are recovering.

“Consumers who use vaping products and e-cigarettes are urged to avoid buying products from the street and to refrain from modifying or adding any substances to products purchased in stores,” Health & Welfare said in a new release today. “Individuals who have recently used vaping products such as e-cigarettes and are having difficulty breathing should seek medical attention immediately.”

Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Turner said, “We are investigating each report and looking for things that might be common among the patients as well as asking about the types of vaping products and devices people have used to try and pinpoint the source of these illnesses.”

Patients have had symptoms that include cough, shortness of breath and/or chest pain that has grown worse over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital, she reported.

H&W spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr said there are additional cases that are being investigated, but have not yet been confirmed.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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