A California resident has died from complications related to vaping e-cigarettes, marking the seventh known vaping-related death in the U.S.
The individual, described only as older than 40 years of age, had a history of vaping and other “complicating health issues.” They were being treated by a doctor for a pulmonary respiratory illness for the last several weeks, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday, citing a Tulare County health official.
As of this week, local health officials say there are three known pulmonary illnesses associated with vaping in Tulare County, which is located between Fresno and Bakersfield.
“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,” Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County public health officer, told the LA Times. “Long-term effects of vaping on health are unknown. Anyone considering vaping should be aware of the serious potential risk associated with vaping.”
News of the death came just hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday that it had activated its Emergency Operations Center in response to the mounting illnesses related to vaping across the country.
“CDC has made it a priority to find out what is causing this outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping-related injuries and deaths,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement.
The CDC is meanwhile urging people to stop vaping until it can determine what has caused more than 300 related breathing illnesses as well as deaths in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon.
All of the illnesses reported have involved people with a history of e-cigarette product use. There is no consistent evidence of an infectious cause, leading health officials to suspect it’s from a chemical exposure, the CDC has said.
Though the majority of those sickened had used a product containing THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, some said they used products that only contained nicotine.