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Vaping-related deaths and illness mounting; Kansas reports sixth U.S. death



Photo by Lindsay Fox from Newport beach, United States - Vaping / Vape Cloud, CC BY 2.0,

Kansas reported the sixth U.S. death related to vaping yesterday, Sept. 10.

The deceased was a Kansas resident over the age of 50, the state said in a press release. According to Kansas State Epidemiologist Dr. Farah Ahmed, the patient had a history of underlying health issues and was hospitalized with symptoms that progressed rapidly. Kansas does not have detailed information on what types of products were used by the deceased.

This is the first death reported in Kansas. Other deaths have been reported in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Oregon.

As of Friday, Sept. 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have received reports of 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products in 33 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The national investigation has not identified any specific vaping or e-cigarette products linked to all cases; however, many patients reported using vaping or e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol. The CDC says that officials have not found evidence of infectious diseases among the patients, therefore the lung illnesses are likely associated with chemical exposure.

New York health officials found extremely high levels of the chemical vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing vaping products that were analyzed as part of the investigation. At least one vape product containing this chemical has been linked to each person who fell ill and submitted a product for testing in the state, reports CNN.

“It is time to stop vaping,” Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the state health officer, said in the Kansas statement.

“If you or a loved one is vaping, please stop. The recent deaths across our country, combined with hundreds of reported lung injury cases continue to intensify. I’m extremely alarmed for the health and safety of Kansans who are using vaping products and urge them to stop until we can determine the cause of vaping-related lung injuries and death,” Norman said.

Symptoms of the vaping-related illnesses have included difficulty breathing, cough and chest pain worsening over a period of days or weeks prior to hospitalization. Other symptoms have included vomiting and diarrhea and fatigue and fever. If you vape and are experiencing these symptoms, please see a doctor as quickly as possible. Some patients have progressed to respiratory compromise requiring ventilatory support.

On Aug. 22, the Mississippi State Department of Health issued an advisory to health providers concerning the outbreak. To date, no deaths or related lung disease has been reported in the state; however, the department was making providers aware and asking them to report cases they may encounter.

Find more information on e-cigarettes and vaping on the MSDH website.

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