Indiana health officials confirm first vaping-related death

(Photo Supplied/Indiana State Department of Health)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO) – The first confirmed vaping-related death has been reported by the Indiana State Department of Health.

The death occurred in a person that was over 18-years-old.  The death was confirmed on September 5 as a part of an investigation involving local and federal health officials and in surrounding states.

Currently, Indiana is investigating 30 cases of severe lung illnesses that are linked to vaping.  Presently, eight of those have been confirmed.  Most of the cases in Indiana have been in individuals ages 16-29.

Nationally, there are more than 215 cases that have been reported with more under investigation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box M.D. says “The tragic loss of a Hoosier and rising number of vaping-related injuries are warnings that we cannot ignore.  We know that these products typically contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and many cases report inhaling THC and other substances not available in commercial products. While it is unclear what substances are causing injury, when you use these products with other chemicals, you may not know everything that you’re inhaling and the harm it can cause.”

Dr. Box states that many patients across the nation have developed severe symptoms that required emergency intervention.  She urges anyone who has vaped within the last 90 days and develops respiratory symptoms to stop using these products and see their healthcare professional immediately.

Symptoms can include:

  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss

The Indiana State Department of Health is working with individuals who are affected to obtain products that were used by the patients and send them for testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The using of e-cigarettes, or vaping in younger people is a rising public health crisis across the nation.  According to the Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey, conducted in 2018, vaping has increased 387 percent in high school students and 358 percent in middle school students since 2012.  In 2016-2018, close to 35,000 more Indiana students began using e-cigarettes.

To learn more about ways to protect Indiana youth from the dangers of vaping, click here.

For the latest reported vaping-injuries nationwide, click here.

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