MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health says it has confirmed the state’s first death from a vaping-related illness. While the victim’s name has not been released, ADPH said the man was from east Alabama.
The death comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigates a multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with vaping. The CDC is looking at more than 805 lung injury cases in 46 states and 1 U.S. territory.
So far, there have been 12 deaths confirmed in 10 states, though Alabama’s death is not included in that number.
Two-thirds of the cases being investigated by the CDC involve patients between ages 18 and 34. ADPH has not released the victim’s age, stating only that he was an adult male.
As of Tuesday, ADPH says there were 19 Alabama residents under investigation. Of those reports, four cases have been identified and nine other reports are still under investigation. Three have been identified as probable cases while the man who died is the one confirmed case of lung disease associated with vaping.
ADPH said national counts will be updated on Thursday.
“The use of any tobacco product is unsafe," said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris who added, "while this current outbreak is being investigated, the safest option is to refrain from using any e-cigarette or vape product. Furthermore, there is no situation in which these devices should be used by pregnant women or youths.”
Those seeking medical attention due to potential vaping-associated injury should immediately inform healthcare providers they used a vaping/e-cigarette product, ADPH said.
Symptoms of the illness include cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, with symptoms growing worse over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital. Patients may also show signs of fever, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
ADPH is asking anyone who has sought medical care for a potential vaping-related injury to contact Jamey Durham at 334-206-5634 if they have any vaping/e-cigarette products that can be obtained for testing purposes.
Alabama law prohibits the sale or transfer of vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery devices to minors.
Free help is available for individuals who are ready to kick the tobacco habit at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or quitnowalabama.com.