Vaping death toll in the US rises to NINE as Kansas man in fifties dies to mysterious lung illness

By | September 24, 2019

Vaping death toll in the US rises to NINE as Kansas man in his fifties dies from mysterious lung illness linked to e-cigarettes

  • Latest victim was regular vaper but had underlying health issues, officials said
  • He is second victim from Kansas after woman in fifties died earlier this month
  • Number of people hospitalised due to vaping-related illnesses has soared to 530

A man in his fifties from Kansas has become the ninth person to die from smoking e-cigarettes in the US, officials have revealed.

The victim, the second from the state, died from a mysterious lung illness linked to smoking the devices.

He was said to have ‘underlying health problems’. No other details have yet been released about his condition.

A woman over 50 with a history of e-cigarette use also died in Kansas earlier this month.

It comes as figures show the number of people hospitalised due to vaping-related illnesses had soared to 530 as of last Thursday. 

So far, in a month, nine people have been struck down by mysterious illnesses caused by vaping

So far, in a month, nine people have been struck down by mysterious illnesses caused by vaping

Nine people have died and more than 530 hospitalised due to a mysterious lung illness caused by vaping (file image)

Nine people have died and more than 530 hospitalised due to a mysterious lung illness caused by vaping (file image)

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said: ‘Today, I am saddened to announce the death of a second Kansan in association with this outbreak.’

She added that officials were ‘working tirelessly with other states and organizations to gather facts on e-cigarettes and its effects’. 

Kansas is not the only state to have recorded two vaping-related deaths – the same amount of fatalities have also occurred in California.

Missouri, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana have all recorded one death so far. The first was in Illinois on August 24.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state health officials are still investigating how e-cigarettes are behind the deaths and illnesses.

However, they have yet to identify a single product or chemical behind the cases, which Harvard University scientists have dubbed a ‘new disease’. 

Meanwhile, health officials have warned people against buying vaping products with THC or CBD on the street or using marijuana-derived oil.

They suspect that vitamin E acetate, an ingredient found in some cannabis vaping products, may play a role in triggering the lung illnesses. 

It may act like grease in the lungs, damaging the tiny sacs that fill with air. But it has only been found in some THC vapes that severely ill patients have used.

The CDC last week said 530 confirmed and probable cases have been reported in 38 states in the US, up from 380 the week before. 

WHAT IS KILLING VAPERS?

The mysterious lung illness linked to vaping has been dubbed ‘new lung disease’ by Harvard University scientists.

Cases have been reported in the majority of US states – 38, plus one territory.

Vitamin E acetate is suspected as a possible trigger for the disease.

But it’s only been found in THC vapes, which some, but not all, of the severely ill patients used. 

This chemical may act like grease in the lungs, damaging the tiny sacs that fill with air.

In most, if not all, of these cases, what begins as shortness of breath and chest pain progresses to coughing, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, fever and weightloss. 

Patients with the most severe cases wind up in the hospital with severely damaged lungs that often appear to be infected with pneumonia. 

Sometimes they have to be placed on ventilators or in medically-induced comas.

The illness can rapidly progress, developing into what is called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

ARDS is a life-threatening condition which means the lungs can’t provide the body’s vital organs with enough oxygen. 

Illnesses are most common among men, who account for 72 percent of the confirmed cases. 

Vaping-related illnesses have affected Americans of all ages, but are more common in younger people who are not usually prone to lung disease.  

Young adults between 18 and 34 account for a worrying 67 percent of cases and 16 percent of the vaping illness victims are under 18.      

Illnesses are most common among men, who account for 72 per cent of the confirmed cases. 

Vaping-related illnesses have affected Americans of all ages, but are more common in younger people who are not usually prone to lung disease.  

Young adults between 18 and 34 account for a worrying 67 per cent of cases and 16 per cent of the vaping illness victims are under 18.  

In most, if not, all, of these cases, what begins as shortness of breath and chest pain progresses to coughing, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, fever and weight loss. 

Patients with the most severe cases wind up in the hospital with severely damaged lungs that often appear to be infected with pneumonia. 

Sometimes they have to be placed on ventilators, in medically-induced comas, or worse. 

CDC officials said many but not all of the reported and confirmed cases involved both THC – the psychoactive chemical in marijuana – and nicotine vaping.  

Michigan and New York have placed bans on flavored e-cigarettes to discourage young people from using the devices. 

The share of high school students using e-cigarettes has more than doubled over the past two years, with 27 percent reporting they had used an e-cigarette in the past month, according to preliminary federal data released last week. 

Public Health England told MailOnline the deaths in America should not deter Britons from using the products in the UK. 

Martin Dockrell, tobacco control lead at PHE, said: ‘A full investigation is not yet available but indications are that the US cases have been linked to people using illicit vaping fluid bought on the streets or home-made, some containing cannabis products like THC oil or synthetic cannabinoids like spice, and others Vitamin E acetate oil.

‘This is not the same as using UK regulated nicotine products. Unlike the US, all nicotine containing e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and they operate the Yellow Card Scheme, encouraging vapers to report any adverse effects.

‘Public Health England’s advice remains that vaping carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking. 

‘Using a nicotine-containing e-cigarette makes it much more likely someone will quit successfully than relying on willpower alone – three studies this year have found them twice as effective as NRT alone. 

‘But it’s important to use UK-regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping home-made or illicit e-liquids or adding substances.’

REVEALED: THE TIMELINE OF THE NINE VAPING DEATHS IN THE US 

FIRST VICTIM

An Illinois man said to be using e-cigarettes to smoke THC died on August 24 after his lungs failed when he developed a mystery lung illness.

SECOND VICTIM 

The second person to die after vaping was a ‘middle-aged’ Oregon resident. 

They were said to have recently started using an e-cigarette containing cannabis oil from a legal dispensary and passed away sometime at the end of August.

THIRD VICTIM 

A third victim in Indiana passed away from the mysterious lung disease in August. 

The patient was described only as ‘elderly’ and little else is known about them. 

FOURTH VICTIM 

The fourth victim, a 65-year-old man, died sometime in August but his death wasn’t confirmed until September 6.

Minnesota officials said the patient had been using the electronic devices to smoke THC.  

FIFTH VICTIM

A 55-year-old man from Los Angeles was the fifth person to lose his life after smoking the e-cigarettes. He died on September 7.

SIXTH VICTIM

A woman in her fifties was the sixth person to succumb to vaping-related illnesses.

The Kansas-born woman, who had a history of health problems, passed away on September 12.  

SEVENTH VICTIM 

A California man became the seventh person to pass away after using the devices. The 40-year-old from Tulare County died on September 17.

EIGHTH VICTIM  

The Missouri man in his forties became the eighth victim to die from vaping.

He had normal lung function until he started using the devices in May.

The victim began experiencing trouble breathing which gradually got worse before he was taken to hospital in St Louis on August 22. He passed away on September 19. 

NINTH VICTIM 

A man in his fifties became the second Kansas resident to die to the vaping-related illness.

He was said to be a regular vaper who had ‘underlying health issues’. He passed on September 24.

 


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