We will learn new details Tuesday morning in Jefferson City about Missouri’s vaping issues with young people.
Governor Mike Parson has called a Statehouse press conference for Tuesday morning at 8:30, where he will be joined by Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven and Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control State Supervisor Dottie Taylor.
Governor Parson says there have been 22 reports of vaping-related illnesses in Missouri since October 4, including one death. The majority of the illnesses involve people ages 15-24.
The DHSS announced on September 19 that a man in his 40’s died that week at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, due to an illness associated with the use of e-cigarettes. DHSS investigated and concluded that it was a vaping-related lung injury after lung samples were taken of the man, who started vaping in May.
DHSS and Mercy St. Louis say the man had no prior illness, and began vaping because of chronic pain issues. Mercy says the man’s lungs were unable to provide enough gas exchange, leading to heart failure and cardiac arrest.
There’s no word on whether the man was vaping a nicotine e-cigarette or an illegal THC cartridge.
“We are sad to report that this illness associated with vaping has now resulted in a death in Missouri and extend our condolences to his family,” DHSS Director Williams said in a September news release. “As previously stated, we encourage Missourians to follow the CDC guidance to refrain from using e-cigarette products if you are concerned about these specific health risks, especially while the investigation is ongoing.”
DHSS says the illness doesn’t spread from person to person. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting. The department encourages anyone who’s concerned about their health after using e-cigarettes to call the local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
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