Another California Resident Dies of Lung Illness Linked to Vaping

The death of the Tulare County resident marks the second in California and seventh in the U.S.

What to Know

  • The Tulare County resident died of severe pulmonary injury associated with vaping
  • It is the second such death reported in California
  • Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Oregon and Minnesota have also reported fatalities linked to vaping

A central California resident has died from complications related to the use of e-cigarettes, the seventh person to die of a vaping-related illness.

The Tulare County Public Health Office confirmed the death Monday in a Facebook post, hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to spend $20 million on raising awareness about the dangers of vaping nicotine and cannabis.

The agency said the Tulare County resident died of severe pulmonary injury associated with vaping. Officials didn't release the person's name and age.

"The Tulare County Public Health Branch would like to warn all residents that any use of e-cigarettes poses a possible risk to the health of the lungs and can potentially cause severe lung injury that may even lead to death," the agency wrote on Facebook. "Long-term effects of vaping on health are unknown. Anyone considering vaping should be aware of the serious potential risk associated with vaping."

It is the second such death reported in California.  Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Oregon and Minnesota have also reported fatalities linked to vaping, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Hundreds of people nationwide have come down with lung illness linked to use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. U.S. health officials have identified at least 380 cases in 36 states.  

Federal and state officials are investigating what is to blame for the illnesses, and no single device, ingredient or additive has been identified as the main culprit. 

Most of the patients said they vaped products containing THC. But some said they vaped only nicotine, while others said they used both THC and nicotine.

In California, public health officials say most patients reported purchasing vapes from pop-up shops or other illegal sellers that are a pipeline for counterfeit products.

An Associated Press investigation found operators are cashing in on the CBD craze by substituting cheap and illegal synthetic marijuana for natural cannabis extract in vapes and edibles such as gummy bears. The practice has sent dozens of people to emergency rooms over the last two years.

AP commissioned laboratory testing of 30 vape products sold as CBD around the country found 10 contained types of synthetic marijuana — drugs commonly known as K2 or spice that have no known medical benefits — while others had no CBD at all.

The results of AP's lab testing echo what authorities have found, according to a survey of law enforcement agencies in all 50 states. At least 128 samples out of more than 350 tested by government labs in nine states, nearly all in the South, had synthetic marijuana in products marketed as CBD. Gummy bears and other edibles accounted for 36 of the hits, while nearly all others were vape products. Mississippi authorities also found fentanyl, the powerful opioid involved in about 30,000 overdose deaths last year.

The CDC has urged people to stop using electronic cigarettes until more is known.

The states reporting vaping-related lung illnesses to the CDC are Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Some other states have announced they are investigating possible vaping illnesses, but have not yet told CDC that those illnesses met case definitions for confirmed or probable cases, CDC officials said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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