A person has died in Kings County due to vaping, the county department of public health reported Monday.
The person was not identified.
It’s the second death related to the use of electronic cigarettes in the region. Last month, a resident in Tulare County died of similar complications.
In Kings County, public health officials on Monday also issued a broad warning against the use of e-cigarettes.
“The Kings County Department of Public Health would like to warn all residents that the use of e-cigarettes pose a risk to the health of the lungs and can potentially cause severe lung injury that may even lead to death,” Kings County Public Health Officer Dr. Milton Teske said in a news release.
There have been 12 reports of pulmonary illness associated with vaping in Kings County, and an increasing number of similar illnesses related to vaping being reported nationwide. As of Oct. 1, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had logged more than 1,000 illnesses nationwide and 18 deaths; there have been at least four deaths (including Kings County) reported since the CDC’s most recent weekly update.
This is the first death in Kings County. It is believed to be related to the kind of severe pulmonary injury that has been associated with vaping, Dr. Teske said.
“Long-term effects of vaping on heath are unknown. But a number of patients treated here are still not back to normal many weeks after hospital discharge,” he said, despite ongoing medical treatment.
Symptoms of vape-associated pulmonary injury (or VAPI) can include shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, nausea, fever, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the release.
The department urged e-cigarettes users who are experiencing respiratory symptoms to see a doctor.
For their part, health providers should contact their county health department if they suspect a patient has experienced pulmonary illness that may be related to vaping.
In Tulare County, Health officials there said there had been three reports of pulmonary illness associated with vaping.
This is following state and national trends.
Juul Labs Inc., the largest U.S. seller of e-cigarettes, is seeing major fallout following the outbreak of vaping illnesses.
In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to spend $20 million to help confront the “youth vaping epidemic.”