The Tulare County Public Health Officer is confirming that an individual from Tulare County has died from complications related to the use of e-cigarettes and is warning community members about the dangerous effects of using electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.
“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,” said Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer. “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.”
There have been three reports of pulmonary illness associated with vaping in Tulare County, and increasing numbers of similar illnesses related to vaping are being reported nationwide. Symptoms of vape-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI) can include shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, nausea, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Anyone who has previously used e-cigarettes and is experiencing worsening respiratory symptoms should seek prompt evaluation. Any providers caring for individuals with severe pulmonary illness suspected to be related to vaping should report cases to Tulare County Public Health at (559) 685-5720.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that individuals use to inhale an aerosol, which can contain nicotine (though not always), flavorings, and other chemicals. They can either use a tank or cartridge to hold the liquid and can resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, or may look very different, such as those that resemble USB memory sticks.
The Public Health Branch sent out a prior warning about the need to discard any vaping product that had not been bought from a reputable dealer, as several cases of VAPI and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) were linked to vaping cannabis products bought from pop-up shops.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quitting smoking and vaping improves your health and reduces risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. To receive assistance with living a smoke-free life, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). In Spanish, call 1-800-DEJELO-YA, and in Vietnamese, call 1-800-778-8440.