The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday clarified that the first confirmed lung injury in the country related to vaping or the use of electronic cigarettes is still regarded as a probable case.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV aired over GMA News TV, said the vaping-related illness would only be confirmed once examination results showed that viral or bacterial infection did not cause lung injury.
"[D]oon mo lang masasabi na magiging confirmed case, hindi siya probable case. Kasi sa ngayon probable case pa lang siya e... Hindi siya absolute," Duque said.
"Aalamin 'yan, kung ma-rule out na wala talagang impeksyon, walang viral or bacterial infection, well then, papasok na siya doon sa kategorya ng CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) na nagsasabing eto ay confirmed case," he added.
According to Duque, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine was coordinating with the hospital to gather more specimen from the teenager such as blood, phlegm, or stool for further examination.
Meanwhile, results may be finished in two weeks.
Due to confirmed vaping-related illnesses in the United States, Duque advised users to refrain from using vapes or e-cigarettes as the knowledge on the products is still limited.
"Ang pinakamaganda diyan, iwasan na ng tuluyan 'yan dahil hindi pa natin masabi, hindi tayo nakakasiguro. Ang karanasan sa e-cigarettes and vapes napakaliit, napakamaiksi pa," Duque said.
"Itong mga pahayag ay dapat senyales na sa mga gumagamit na mag-dalawang isip kayo. Hindi kayo dapat sumusugal ng inyong buhay para sa kasandalian lang na paggamit na ang kapalit naman (ay) pangmatagalan na miserableng buhay dahil may sakit ka," he later added.
Duque also called on the Regional Trial Courts of Pasig and Manila to allow the DOH and the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the use of vape products and e-cigarettes after the court issued an injunction against the regulation.
"Sana isang maging hudyat na hayaan na nila na ang FDA [at] DOH ay magsagawa ng ating regulatory measures. Para maprotektahan din naman natin ang kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan," Duque said in a report on GMA News' Balitanghali Weekend. —Joahna Lei Casilao/KG, GMA News