ADPH concerns after Alabama’s first death from vaping-associated injury

Updated: Oct. 2, 2019 at 9:26 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WBRC) - On Wednesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced the state’s first death tied to vaping after the death of an East Alabama man.

This is the first death in Alabama, but 18 other cases are still under investigation to see if there is a link between vaping and lung injuries.

Dr. Scott Harris, Public Health Officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health, said their investigation linked the Alabama man’s death to vaping and e-cigarettes.

There is no word if a marijuana product THC was involved. The CDC has said 80 percent of the lung injuries involve using THC or vaping products found out on the streets. Harris said they stand by their recommendation for people to stop using e-cigarettes or vaping while this investigation continues.

“We would encourage everyone to stop vaping if that is an option for you. if you must vape or if you are unable to stop then please make sure you get your product from a reputable source,” Harris said.

A non-profit created to promote the vaping industry urges the health department to release more information.

“I’m extremely disappointed the health department didn’t make any notice, they didn’t bring any attention to the fact that these are coming from black market THC products not legitimate vape shops,” Stacey Hamilton, President of the Breath Easier Alliance of Alabama, said.

Harris has issues with vaping and believes it leads to health problems using nicotine and that leads to addiction. He says the FDA may ban the products.

The vape industry is fearful flavors may be banned and that would put them out of business.

As of Oct. 2, 2019, there are 19 Alabama residents under investigation for probable cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping. Alabama is currently not included in the national case numbers since we are in the process of investigating reports.

The CDC is investigating more than 805 lung injury cases in 46 states and 1 U.S. territory. Twelve deaths have now been confirmed in a total of 10 states.

ADPH recommends that all consumers consider refraining from the use of e-cigarettes and vape products until national and state investigations into vaping-related deaths and illnesses are complete. Two-thirds of the cases being investigated by the CDC involve patients who are 18-34 years old.

Free help is available for individuals who are ready to kick the tobacco habit at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

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