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State health officials report first death related to vaping

JACKSON — Thursday morning, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported the state’s first death associated with vaping.

The death was an individual under the age of 30.

In its release, the department said the state has so for identified four cases of serious lung injury related to vaping, all in individuals between 18 and 34 years of age.

Mississippi is part of a national investigation into severe pulmonary disease or lung injury linked to the use of e-cigarette products.

Nationwide, as of September 19, there have been 530 cases of lung illness reported from 38 states and one U.S. territory. Seven deaths have been reported from six states.

“Any death related to vaping is one too many, and this is entirely preventable,” MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said. “We grieve with the family over this loss, and our hopes are that this helps emphasize how serious the dangers of vaping can be.”

Byers said many of the cases in the U.S. report vaping cannabis products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, some have reported only vaping nicotine products. However, no specific product such as the device, liquid, refill pods or cartridge has been clearly identified as the cause of illness.

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said serious lung injury from vaping has become a national epidemic that healthcare partners across the country are trying to address.

“I think we are just now starting to see some of the dangerous health outcomes of vaping,” Dobbs said. “There is still so much we don’t know. It’s uncharted territory.”