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By Jose A. Alvarez
San Diego County Communications Office 

San Diego woman dies from vaping-related lung injury

 

Last updated 6/18/2020 at 1:54pm

The electronic cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful substances, including nicotine, cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.

A 76-year-old woman who died May 24 is the first local fatality of electronic cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced June 11.

Three other EVALI cases in young adults were confirmed in recent weeks and they are the first reports of the lung illness in San Diego County since 2019.

All the newly reported local cases tested negative for the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, and they all reported recently vaping products containing tetrahydro cannabinoid.

The California Department of Public Health recently recognized new reports of confirmed EVALI cases in persons vaping THC-containing products in April, after no cases had been reported since February 2020.

Since July 2019, 52 EVALI cases have been reported in San Diego County residents. All patients had to be hospitalized.

"While our community is understandably focused on COVID-19, it is important to remember that lung injury from vaping is still a major public health concern," Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, said. "People who vape, especially those using THC-containing products, are urged to stop."

In January, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to restrict the sale of flavored smoking products and e-cigarette and vaping devices in the county's unincorporated areas. These restrictions were proposed as a response to the e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury cases in the county and across the county. Enforcement of these restrictions will begin July 1.

THC containing e-cigarette or vaping products, particularly obtained from informal sources, are linked to most e-cigarette or vaping, lung injury cases. Vitamin E acetate has also been strongly linked to the outbreak and has been found in product samples from patients and inpatient lung fluid samples.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people not use THC-containing e-cigarettes or vaping products obtained from informal sources such as friends, family, pop-up shops or online sellers. Additionally, the CDC said that youth, young adults or pregnant women should never use e-cigarette or vaping products.

For more information about lung injury associated with e-cigarettes or vaping, visit https://tobaccofreeca.com/ or https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html.

 

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