Department for Public Health Announces First Vaping-Related Death

Kentucky News

FRANKFORT, Ky.  – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) has announced the state’s first probable fatality related to vaping. Dr. Angela Dearinger, DPH Commissioner, said the fatality was a male in his late 20s.

DPH, part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), reports the fatality of a Kentuckian in its weekly online update of investigations related to e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI).

As of Friday, there have been 48 reports of possible EVALI. The fatality is included in 13 probable cases. There are seven confirmed EVALI cases and 15 pending cases.

DPH has been investigating reports of EVALI since September 2019.

CHFS Acting Secretary Eric Friedlander said vaping and using any tobacco or nicotine products is a health risk affecting the well-being of too many Kentuckians. “We are saddened to announce the death associated with this outbreak,” he said. “To protect public health, we urge Kentuckians – especially young people — to stop using all vaping products.”

Dearinger said health experts can’t guarantee the safety of any e-cigarette or vaping product. In addition to nicotine, which is an addictive substance, e-cigarette aerosol contains cancer- causing chemicals and ultra- fine particles that cause respiratory problems.  The long- term health effects caused by electronic cigarettes or vaping are currently unknown.

“Electronic cigarette use is never safe for youth or young adults,” Dearinger said.

Quit Now Kentucky offers confidential, one-on-one coaching for Kentuckians of all ages who want to quit tobacco products. Quit Now Kentucky is available from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern time (6 a.m. to midnight Central time), seven days a week. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669); Text QUITKY to 797979; or go to http://www.quitnowkentucky.org.

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(This story was originally published on January 10, 2020)

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