Third vaping-related illness death reported in Louisiana

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In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 photo, a woman loads liquid into her vaping device in Harmony, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A third person in Louisiana has died from complications related to illness caused by vaping, according to the latest tracking data on the Department of Health’s website.

Two patients in Louisiana died from vaping-related lung injury in November. The data on the LDH site updated on Friday, January 24 shows that three deaths have now been reported in the state and the number of EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury) cases reported in Louisiana since August 2019 now totals 35. The LDH does not report where patients live, where they are treated, or any potentially identifying information.

A third person in Louisiana has died from complications related to illness caused by vaping, according to the latest tracking data on the Department of Health’s website.(Source: Louisiana Department of Health)

The state’s data does show that cases were reported from throughout the state were among patients ranging in age from 17-71.

According to the CDC, 60 deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia as of January 14, 2020. It’s not clear if the latest reported death in Louisiana is included in the CDC’s most-recently published data.

Most patients have said they vaped products containing THC, the ingredient that produces a high in marijuana. CDC officials have gradually come to focus their investigation on black-market THC cartridges.

In November, CDC officials said they had narrowed in on a culprit — a chemical compound called vitamin E acetate that has been commonly found in the lungs of sick patients and in the products they vaped. It’s a thickening agent that’s been added to illicit THC vaping liquids.

It is latest report, the CDC said that visits related to vaping products continue to decline after sharply increasing in August 2019 and peaking in September 2019 and last week walked back its warning against the use of all vaping products. The federal agency now recommends that “persons not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, especially those acquired from informal sources such as friends, family members, or from in-person or online dealers.”

The CDC says Vitamin E acetate is strongly linked to the EVALI outbreak and warns it should not be added to any e-cigarette, or vaping, products. “However, evidence is not sufficient to rule out the contribution of other chemicals of concern, including chemicals in either THC- or non-THC–containing products, in some reported EVALI cases.”

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