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Public Health Investigates First Death Associated with E-Cigarettes in LA County

Courtesy Insider.com

Residents warned to take precautions

LOS ANGELES—Following a recent death of a Los Angeles County resident potentially related to the use of e-cigarettes, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is issuing a warning to residents about the use of these devices as potentially harmful to proper lung function.  To date, there have been 12 reports of vaping-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI) in Los Angeles County.

“Nationwide, we are learning how dangerous these devices may be, and the long-term health impacts remain unknown at this time,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer. “As their popularity rises, especially among teens and young adults, we are compelled to warn our 10 million residents that the risks of using these devices, with or without nicotine, marijuana, CBD or some street concoction, may now include severe lung injury.”

There are nationwide reports that people are showing up in emergency departments with similar symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, and may have vomiting and diarrhea.

“The increasing cases of severe pulmonary illnesses associated with vaping both nationwide and locally in Los Angeles County are alarming and underscores how much we still don’t know about the extent of harm that vaping can cause,” said Dr. Steven Dubinett, Associate Vice Chancellor of UCLA and Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. “We join Public Health, the medical community, and other health professionals in warning residents about the use of these devices and the need for a concerted effort to address this outbreak.”

“The bottom line is everyone should think twice about vaping until more is known about their impacts on the health of their users, and the role they play as a contributor to lung damage leading to death,” Davis added.

Public Health continues to urge healthcare providers to be on the alert for signs of severe respiratory illness among patients who recently used vaping products including e-cigarettes and report cases by phone to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health at 626-299-3504.

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid substance (e-liquid or e-juice) that contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives and deliver the nicotine and flavoring to the user in the form of an aerosol (“smoke”). For information on the risks associated with vaping, and how to quit smoking visit: https://laquits.com/