Mass. DPH: Immediate reporting of vaping-related diseases now mandatory

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Public Health commissioner is now making it mandatory for vaping-related diseases to be immediately reported to the Department of Public Health.

The mandatory reporting requirements will be in place for the next year and were sent to all clinicians, including internal medicine, family practice, general practice, emergency medicine, and clinical care as well as pediatricians, pulmonologists, and nurse practitioners.

As more cases of vaping-related pulmonary diseases are seen nationwide, officials are hoping it will help them get a better sense of how those diseases are impacting Massachusetts.

"We are beginning to hear from clinicians about what they are seeing in their practice as a result of the health alert. Today's action establishes the legal framework for healthcare providers to report cases and suspected cases so that we can get a better sense of the overall burden of disease in Massachusetts. It also will allow us to provide case counts to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they continue to try to understand the nationwide impact of vaping-related disease."

-- Commissioner Monica Bharel.

>> Related: Four people dead from outbreak of severe pulmonary disease related to vaping

Nationwide, 450 possible cases of severe lung disease - associated with e-cigarettes - have been reported.

So far, there have been no confirmed cases in Massachusetts but several suspected cases are under investigation.

According to the DPH, the latest statewide data shows 41% of Mass. high school students have tried e-cigarettes at least once. About 20% of them reported using in the last 30 days and nearly 10% of middle school students say they have tried e-cigarettes.

>> Related:  Mass. vape buy back program will target teen vaping through school funding

A spokesperson for JUUL Labs released a statement on Wednesday in response to the announcement:

We strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavored products. We will fully comply with the final FDA policy when effective.