LAFAYETTE, LA (KLFY) – Monday morning The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed the first vaping-related death in the state.
Privacy laws prevent us from knowing much about who died, but statistics show of the 30 Louisiana cases of e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury between August and November, the median age of those diagnosed is 29. The youngest is 17, and the oldest is 71.
The combination of THC and nicotine accounts for more than 55% of all illnesses in Louisiana, but one in five, or 21%, report using nicotine alone. 24% of patients recorded only THC as the substance they exposed themselves to. We don’t know yet which group the death was in, but the reaction on the streets of Lafayette is mixed.
“Kind of blew my mind, especially here in Louisiana,” Hunter Spear said when he heard of the first vaping-related death in Louisiana.
A woman who wanted to be known by simply Dez said, “For me, it’s like you’re going to do what you’re going to do. Pick your poison.”
Both Dez and Spear both smoke. They’ve tried vaping before, but the first death in the state has given them more to think about.
“They say it’s safe, but it’s completely not,” claimed Spear.
Dez remarked, “The best you can do is just try and figure out where they’re going wrong and try to make it safer for everybody, but I don’t think it’s going to stop people from doing what they want to do.”
However, the Louisiana Department of Health is recommending people do just that.
In the release regarding the death, Assistant Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux, said, “One death is one too many. We urge people to recognize the dangers of vaping and to stop vaping until more is known about the specific causes.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, 43 people across America have confirmed deaths linked to a vaping or e-cigarette related illness.
“My opinion does change,” admitted Rahem Robertson. “That means I’m not smoking vapor smoke no more.”
Robertson said he vaped for almost two years, but quit because he didn’t trust the new e-cigarettes over traditional cigarettes.
He claimed, “They put some type of chemicals in there, and it’s really messing everybody up.”
The Centers for Disease Control recently announced that vitamin E acetate could be a potential toxin linked to the widespread outbreak of vaping illnesses in the U.S.
Vitamin E acetate is a chemical oil derived from vitamin E. CDC officials collected samples of fluid collected from the lungs of 29 ill patients from 10 different states and vitamin E acetate was found in all samples. The compound was also previously found in vaping fluid used by many who got sick. Additionally, THC was found in 23 samples and nicotine in 16 samples. No other potential toxins have been identified in the samples so far.
Dez said no matter what proof is released, some minds won’t be changed, “I don’t think it’s going to stop people from doing what they want to do.”
Regardless of the investigation, Louisiana’s Department of Health released six recommendations regarding vaping products:
- Discontinue using vaping products.
- Do not purchase vaping products off the street and do not modify them or use substances not intended for use by the manufacturer.
- Youth, young adults, and pregnant women, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products, should not use vaping products.
- Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using vaping products.
- Adults who are vaping should not smoke combustible cigarettes as a replacement for nicotine. (E-cigarettes and other vaping devices are not FDA approved as smoking cessation tools.)
- Monitor for symptoms of severe side
In total, more than 2,000 confirmed cases of lung injury caused by vaping have been diagnosed across the country.