Nationwide vaping-related deaths raise concerns

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Five people are now dead as health officials say vaping-related respiratory illnesses are surging. 

Indiana, Minnesota and California each reported a vaping-related deaths on Friday. 

“It took many years for us to understand the health impacts of nicotine and the health impacts of smoking we question whether we are on that same path in terms of looking at vaping,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis.

Los Angeles County health officials have joined the CDC in discouraging people from using vaping devices or e-cigarettes. 

Right now more than 450 cases of lung illnesses linked to vaping are under investigation. 

“We think it’s wise to stay away from this until we understand what the implications are for the person using it their health and how it contributes to this lung disease that could potentially be deadly,” Davis said.

Health officials in New York say a vitamin E chemical has been linked to some vaping illnesses. 

The chemical was detected in lab tests in nearly all products that contained cannabis. 

Federal health officials say vitamin E acetate remains as only one of many possible causes.

A doctor from UCSF said it’s unclear why there’s been a sudden spike in illnesses.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if these incidences were starting to happen a while ago and it’s just that nobody noticed until we had a cluster or cases I believe in Wisconsin that attracted attention,” said Dr. Stanton Glantz at UCSF.

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