Louisiana reports first vape-related death

Updated: Nov. 18, 2019 at 11:14 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Louisiana health officials released information today on Louisiana’s first vape-related lung injury.

They haven’t released the person’s name.

There have been around 30 other cases of lung injuries and 17 of these people reported having smoked a combination of nicotine and THC.

The State Health Department is blaming three chemicals for an outbreak in lung illness cases.

“Vaping products are getting to be more of a concern. We are now seeing more cases where people are getting very ill or dying from purchases at black market or other settings,” Benjamin Springgate, MD, MPH, with LSU Health Sciences, said.

Springgate reported that they’re seeing more people getting severely sick and dying from e-cigarette and vaping-associated lung injury. While the industry said many products can be used safely. Some doctors are saying there are still too many unknown factors.

“The CDC says there are more than 7000 chemicals in many vape products, and these things can contribute in a variety of ways to worsen someone’s health or kill them,” Springgate said.

The manager of the Vapor Room, Levi Took, is also concerned about the usage of off-the-shelf products. He emphasized the importance of e-cigarette and vape users to be fully informed.

Vitamin E acetate is considered a thickening agent. Doctors are concerned about it, however, people in the vaping industry state they don’t sell products that contain it.

“The main problem is a lack of awareness, vitamin E acetate has been the culprit, and it’s not getting the play that it needs to," Took said.

“29 deaths across ten states, that’s in their most recent study. All had vitamin e acetate as a component of what was in the vaping,” Springgate said.

In spite of concerns, Took insists it’s a good way to stay off cigarettes.

“I’ve quit smoking on it, it’s a viable option,” Took said.

New vape rules are supposed to be adopted in May of 2020.

The State Health Department stated if you do vape, monitor your symptoms for severe side effects and seek medical attention.

If you have any questions they advise you to call the Louisiana Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW

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