First Death Linked to Vaping

The nation's first death possibly linked to vaping has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says an adult person who recently vaped died after being hospitalized with "severe respiratory illness." The agency didn't give any other information about the patient, including a name or where the person lived.

The CDC says there are currently 193 potential cases in 22 states, including Georgia. Patients reported similar symptoms – shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and vomiting in some cases – and some were admitted to the intensive care unit.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is currently investigating possible cases of severe respiratory illness in individuals who reported vaping.

Many patients acknowledged a history of vaping nicotine and/or products containing THC, the component in marijuana that gives the high sensation. Evidence does not indicate an infectious disease is the cause of the illness.

DPH has requested that health care providers throughout Georgia ask patients presenting with severe respiratory illness about the use of products (devices, liquids, refill pods) used for vaping nicotine and/or THC and report possible cases to the Georgia Poison Center. Patients with a history of vaping who are experiencing breathing problems should seek medical care.

E-cigarettes and other vaping devices are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products, according to the CDC. Use of these products can increase the possibility of addiction and long-term harm to brain development and respiratory health.

E-cigarettes are generally thought to be safer than traditional cigarettes, which kill up to half of all lifetime users, according to the World Health Organization. But the long-term health effects of vaping are largely unknown.

In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began an investigation into seizures among e-cigarette users.

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