A Missouri woman in her mid-50s died this week in connection to the use of e-cigarettes or vaping products – making her Missouri’s second vaping-related death. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), in discussion with the woman’s treating physicians, concluded that vaping was a contributing factor to the patient’s death who was experiencing a long-standing underlying chronic lung condition. Whether the patient was using illegal vaping cartridges is unknown.
Since Missouri DHSS began advising, and now requiring, physicians to report possible lung injuries associated with e-cigarettes, or vaping, in late August, DHSS has found 35 cases to be confirmed or probable from throughout the state of Missouri, using the case definition developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC recommends that people should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online. In a state press release, it says until the relationship of vitamin E acetate and lung health is better understood, vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette, or vaping, products. In addition, the release says people should not add any substance to e-cigarette or vaping products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail locations.
Last month, DHSS Director Randall Williams said Missouri’s vaping related illness cases reflect the national trend in the use of illegal vaping cartridges.
“If you look nationally, about 70% of those are associated with THC and illegal cartridges. The other 30% is unknown,” said Williams.
Gov. Mike Parson has ordered three state agencies to develop a statewide public service campaign about the dangers of vaping among youth. The state is also doing random compliance checks this month at Missouri retailers who sell e-cigarette products. Those under the age of 18 are banned from buying nicotine vaping products in Missouri.
Parson is holding a press conference on Monday afternoon about youth vaping. Of Missouri’s cases reported, more than half involve users ages 15-24.
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