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Kansas health officials confirm first vaping-related lung disease death

Kansas health officials have confirmed the first death in the state related to lung disease caused by vaping or using e-cigarettes.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019 10:23 AM

(TOPEKA, Kan.) Kansas health officials have confirmed the first death in the state related to lung disease caused by vaping or the use of  e-cigarettes.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment released a statement Tuesday saying this is the first death associated with an outbreak of serious lung disease related to the use of e-cigarettes or vaping.

The recent death was a Kansas resident over the age of 50. The resident had a history of underlying health issues and was hospitalized with symptoms that progressed rapidly, according to Kansas Sate Epidemiologist Dr. Farah Ahmed.

"Our sympathies go out to the family of the person who died," Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said in a statement. "Health officials are working hard to determine a cause and share information to prevent additional injuries. As that work continues, I urge Kansans to be careful. Don't put yourself in harm's way, and please follow the recommendations of public health officials."

Kansas health officials say the national investigation has not identified any specific vaping or e-cigarette products linked to all cases however many patients report using vaping or e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products. Kansas does not have detailed information on what types of products that were used by the deceased.

Dr. Lee Norman, the Kansas State Health Officer and Secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, says that health officials nationwide continue to work aggressively to gather information and determine the cause of these lung injuries.

"It is time to stop vaping," Norman said. "If you or a loved one is vaping, please stop. The recent deaths across our country, combined with hundreds of reported lung injury cases continue to intensify. I'm extremely alarmed for the health and safety of Kansans who are using vaping products and urged them to stop until we can determine the cause of vaping related lung injuries and death."

To date, Kansas has six reports associated to the outbreak. Three patients have been classified as confirmed or probable cases and three are still under investigation.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the addition of the Kansas report, is reporting six deaths and more than 450 possible cases of severe lung injury in 33 states and one jurisdiction.

The CDC is recommending people to avoid vaping or using e-cigarettes. People with a history of vaping who are experiencing lung injury symptoms should seek medical care. These symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, cough, and vomiting, diarrhea. Other symptoms may include headache, dizziness, and chest pain.

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