Virginia’s Health Commissioner Announces First Vaping Fatality in Southwest Virginia

Recently the first death of a Virginia resident was confirmed and linked with e-cigarette use also known as vaping, according to the Virginia Department of Health. This death is part of the recent outbreak of vaping related lung illness injuries throughout the country right now. According to the latest press release from the Health Department, the person lived in southwest Virginia, but no other specific details have been revealed. Virginia’s Health Commissioner, Dr. M. Norman Oliver, stated in the press release “I am deeply saddened to announce the first death of a Virginia resident related to this outbreak. Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time.”
There have already been more than thirty lung injury cases in Virginia, according to the Health Department. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported more than eight hundred similar cases in forty-six states and one U.S. territory, along with twelve additional deaths having already been confirmed in ten states.
Many companies are promoting E-cigarette use as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes or other tobacco products and are under intense scrutiny after an Illinois resident perished in April from a severe respiratory illness.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, the cases do not improve with antibiotics, but some patients have responded positively to steroid therapy. The latest CDC findings suggest that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana could have played a role in the outbreak.
Among the 514 patients that the CDC has information of concerning what was vaped in the thirty days prior to the onset of symptoms, more than 70% affirmed that they had vaped a THC containing product during that time frame.
While the American Vaping Association, argues that “tainted, black market THC products” are at fault and are calling on officials at the federal level to clear nicotine products of current suspicion.
The Virginia Department of Health claims that the cause of the current outbreak remains unknown. However, the CDC and the Health Department are strongly discouraging the use of E-cigarettes as they investigate the ongoing outbreak. Additional information regard lung illnesses and vaping can be found at www.vdh.virginia.gov/vaping.

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