A SEVENTH person has died from a vaping-related illness in the US, health officials have confirmed.
The 40-year-old man from California died over the weekend after battling a “severe” lung disease for several weeks.
Dr Karen Haught, the Tulare County public health officer, said: “With sadness, we report that there has been a death of a Tulare County resident suspected to be related to severe pulmonary injury associated with vaping.”
It’s the latest death following spike in people being struck down with mysterious and life-threatening lung diseases the US.
The first death identified as related to vaping was announced last month in Illinois where a patient had suffered a “severe respiratory illness” after vaping.
In July, a person in Oregon who had recently used vapes containing cannabis oil died.
Another death was reported on September 6 by health officials in Indiana, who said the patient was over 18 and had a history of e-cigarette use.
Minnesota Department of Health announced on the same day that a patient had died in August from a lung disease associated with vaping THC – the psychoactive chemical in cannabis – products.
Just last week, two deaths were announced in Los Angeles County and Kansas.
Know the risks
Public health officials in California are warning people to be aware of the potentially fatal risks involved with vaping in light of the most recent death.
Dr Haught said: “The Tulare County Public Health Branch would like to warn all residents that any use of e-cigarettes poses a possible risk to the health of the lungs and can potentially cause severe lung injury that may even lead to death.
“Long-term effects of vaping on health are unknown. Anyone considering vaping should be aware of the serious potential risk associated with vaping.”
Anyone considering vaping should be aware of the serious potential risk associated with vaping
Officials also reiterated a warning to discard any vaping that hadn’t been bought from a reputable dealer.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating 380 confirmed or probable cases of the vaping-related illness in 36 states and plus the US Virgin Islands.
On Monday, the agency said it has activated its emergency operations centre to coordinate the investigation.
CDC Director Robert Redfield said: “CDC has made it a priority to find out what is causing this outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping-related injuries and deaths.”
How safe are e-cigarettes in the UK?
In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.
They’re not completely risk free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.
While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it’s relatively harmless.
Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.
There’s no evidence so far that vaping causes harm to other people around you.
This is in contrast to secondhand smoke from smoking, which is known to be very harmful to health.
While the cases have not yet been linked to a specific product or ingredient, health officials have urged consumers to quit vaping altogether.
Health investigators are trying to establish whether a particular toxin or substance is being added into products, including marijuana, or whether it stems from heavy usage.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes vape liquid containing THC – the psychoactive agent in cannabis – could be to blame and have issued a warning.
But many patients have said they have no knowledge about the substances they might have used – making treatment complicated.
Ditch bootleg vapes
For those who continue, the CDC is urging consumers to avoid buying vaping products on the street, using marijuana-derived oil with the products or modifying a store-bought vape product.
Anyone who has breathing problems after vaping, such as a dry, or unproductive cough, shortness of breath and chest pain that worsens with deep breathing, should report them to their doctor.
British health experts have also raised concerns over the health risks of vaping – but Public Health England said they are not aware of any similar incidents in the UK.
Vaping has been recommended to smokers trying to quit nicotine – and they’re claimed to be up to 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes.
The UK versus USA – how vaping compares
TWO chemicals found in two popular vaping flavours could destroy lung function, experts have warned.
Inhaling the popcorn and caramel e-cig liquids could increase a vaper’s risk of respiratory diseases, their findings suggest.
Popcorn flavoured e-cig liquid is especially harmful, thanks to the chemical diacetyl, which has been linked to “popcorn lung”.
In the UK, diacetyl was banned in e-cigarette liquid under the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) in 2016.
So, e-liquids sold in the UK shouldn’t contain diacetyl but if you get your liquid on holiday, you may well find that it includes it.
Public Health England insists that “false fears” over vaping and stopping many smokers from using them.
Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, previously said that although they were aware of the risks, “there is widespread academic and clinical consensus that while not without risk, vaping is far less harmful than smoking”.
Regarding the spate of deaths in America, Martin Dockrell, Head of Tobacco Control at PHE, said: “A full investigation is not yet available but we’ve heard reports that most of these cases were linked to people using illicit vaping fluid bought on the streets or homemade, some containing cannabis products, like THC, or synthetic cannabinoids, like Spice.
All e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety
“Unlike the US, all e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and they operate the Yellow Card Scheme, encouraging vapers to report any bad experiences.
“Our advice remains that e-cigarettes are a fraction of the risk of smoking, and using one makes it much more likely you’ll quit successfully than relying on willpower alone.
“But it’s important to use UK-regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping home-made or illicit e-liquids or adding substances, any of which could be harmful.”
It comes as a new study, published yesterday, revealed that a banned flavouring linked to cancer has been found in e-liquids.
Scientists say the chemical – called pulegone – is contained in menthol and mint flavoured vapes and smokeless tobacco products.
MORE ON VAPING
We previously revealed that millions of vapers are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke, with vaping increasing the risk by as much as 71 per cent.
Two popular flavourings – caramel and popcorn – have also been found to destroy lung function.
And in March, a study found that vapers were twice as likely to suffer wheezing and breathing difficulties as non-smokers.
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