RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Health reported the state’s first vaping-related death on Tuesday.
Health officials say the outbreak continues to grow but the exact cause is still unknown.
A person who lived in Southwest Virginia died last week in North Carolina as a result of a lung injury associated with vaping, the 12th known death linked to vaping.
Dr. Lilian Peake from the Virginia Department of Health says the death is part of a bigger problem. Out of the more than 800 lung injury cases associated with e-cigarettes or vaping in the nation, 31 have come from Virginia.
“This case was part of a multi-state outbreak and there have been over 800 cases associated,” Peake told 8News. “They developed symptoms of shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, became very sick, many of them very sick and sought medical care.”
Doctors and medical professionals are still trying to understand what is going on.
“It’s the association with having vaped or used e-cigarettes and then that lung injury,” Peake said, “all of the cases have that in common.”
While there are connections, Peake says we still don’t know what exactly is causing the lung injuries.
“At this point there hasn’t been a particular product that’s been associated with every case,” Peake explained.
She suggested to stay away from e-cigarettes or vaping until we know more.
“We recommend, really the safest option is not vaping,” Peake said.
Dr. Peake said the Virginia Department of Health is conducting a thorough investigation into the concerns. If you choose to vape, do not modify any products you may use and get medical attention if you have any respiratory illness symptoms.
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