ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Public Health has identified the state’s second death from a vaping-associated illness. The patient had a history of nicotine vaping, but the case is still being reviewed to determine if other substances also may have been used. The number of vaping-associated lung injury cases in Georgia is now 14, including two deaths. About 20 possible cases are under review. Cases range in age from 18 to 68 years (the median age is 31 years), and 71% are male.
The Georgia cases were hospitalized and developed pneumonia with no known infectious cause. Symptoms of vaping-associated lung injury, which worsen over time, include cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. People with a history of vaping who are experiencing breathing problems or any of these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
More than 1,000 vaping-associated lung injuries have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including at least 18 deaths. No specific e-cigarette device or substance has been linked to all cases, although the CDC’s current investigation indicates products containing THC play a role in the outbreak.
Vaping devices and products can be obtained from stores, online retailers, from informal sources (e.g., friends, family members), or “off the street.” People who vape may not know what is in these products because they can be modified to contain a mix of ingredients including dangerous and illicit substances. People who vape should not buy vaping products off the street or modify or add any substances to them.
DPH has issued a health advisory detailing the health risks of e-cigarettes, vaping devices and vaping products. The advisory can be found at https://dph.georgia.gov/vapinglunginjury.
Gov. Brian P. Kemp and DPH Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H. urge individuals to follow CDC recommendations and not use e-cigarettes or other vaping devices while this investigation is ongoing. Without knowing the specific cause of vaping-associated lung injury, discontinuing use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices is the best prevention against becoming ill.
More information about e-cigarettes and vaping can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html#latest-outbreak-information.