By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4)– A second case of a vaping-related illness has been confirmed in Colorado. There are concerns that number could rise as the total number of people with the illness has reached nearly 200.

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Children and teens vaping is considered an epidemic in Colorado. The state has the highest rates of youth usage in the nation.

Now, health care officials are finding evidence of what they always suspected: vaping is not harmless like many people once thought.

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Dr. Tony Cappello with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said on Thursday, “It is clear that there are dangers associated with vaping.”

Dr. Robin Deterding with Children’s Hospital Colorado said, “This is a chemistry experiment that you are inhaling.”

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Once touted by manufacturers as a safe alternative to smoking, vaping is making people sick.

“And just last night Colorado confirmed its second case of respiratory illness related to vaping,” said Cappello.

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Doctors aren’t quite sure yet what exactly is making people sick but heating the oil based “vape juice” has led to respiratory problems in patients some of whom are teens.

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“These life threatening illnesses as you have heard can look like infection. Kids can start coughing. They can feel bad. They can have chest pain. Some individuals have coughed up blood, though that’s not that common,” said Deterding.

Health experts are warning parents and young people that if they vape they are putting their health at risk.

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“It’s a lifetime of impact if you begin inhaling these substances early,” said Deterding,”Some (people) go to the emergency room and the most important thing we are telling people is we have to have the vaping history.”

Now that doctors have discovered that vaping is causing respiratory illnesses, they are going to go back through their past cases and see if any patients they have treated may have been sickened by vaping.

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Deterding thinks they will likely find more cases, “Though the clusters are new, I think we are going to learn that different variations and degrees of these conditions have been present before.”

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Patients doctors have seen vape both nicotine and cannabis products. If you or your child vape and you have respiratory illness you should immediately see a doctor.

Michael Abeyta