Regence joins health officials warning of vaping dangers and encouraging end to e-cigarette use

By Regence
September 27, 2019

Severe pulmonary disease cases related to e-cigarette use have been reported nationwide, and there have been 13 deaths, including two in Oregon.

Updated Oct. 4, 2019

Medical professionals nationwide are warning the public about the dangers of vaping tobacco and marijuana after a recent surge in severe lung disease cases. Thirteen people across the U.S. have died from vaping-related lung illnesses, including two people in Oregon. On Oct. 4, 2019, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a six-month ban on flavored vaping products. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a notice asking the public to stop using all forms of e-cigarette products until more information is determined about the health impacts of vaping.  The health crisis has struck more than 800 people, with severe pulmonary disease cases being reported in 46 states, according to the CDC. The Trump administration is also reportedly considering a ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Regence medical experts strongly agree with the CDC recommendation to stop e-cigarette use.

“Due to the recent surge in severe cases and how much we still simply do not know about vaping and its effects, anyone who continues to use e-cigarettes is putting their health in danger,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, president of consumer solutions and chief medical officer for Regence. “The smartest advice at this point is to simply avoid vaping altogether.”

Dr. Drew Oliveira, executive medical director at Regence, recently spoke with Q13 FOX about the risks of vaping, particularly for young people. "It's rampant" among young people under the age of 18, he said. "It's a significant public health issue. And these are only the acute effects. We still don't know the long-term outcomes." 

Health experts cannot yet determine which substance or substances in e-cigarette liquid are causing lung injury. The CDC has created a website to provide up-to-date information on its findings.

types of e-cigarettes
Types of e-cigarettes. Image courtesy CDC

Regence members who use e-cigarettes or are considering quitting are encouraged to contact their primary care provider about support, information or programs that can help. Medications including Bupropion (tobacco cessation formulation), Chantix® (varenicline) and Nicotrol® nasal spray or inhalers may be covered options under your health insurance.

A health coach is also a benefit available under some Regence plans. And wellness tools at can provide additional information and help for people who want to quit using nicotine.

Many community-based tobacco cessation programs are also offered free of charge and provide significant support to help people quit.