Kentucky officials report probable vaping-related death


FILE – In this Aug. 14, 2014, file photo, a man exhales vapor as he demonstrates the use of his electronic cigarette in Salt Lake City. Several Utah vape shops are suing the state’s Department of Health over its emergency rule restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The retailers claim in a lawsuit filed Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Utah state court that there is no evidence to suggest flavored e-cigarettes are causing lung damage and that the new rule could hurt business. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky health officials on Friday announced the state’s first probable vaping-related death.

The man who died was in his late 20s, said Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Angela Dearinger.

The Centers for Disease Control website said as of Tuesday, 57 vaping-related deaths had been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia.

Kentucky has had 48 reports of possible vaping-related illness, including 13 probable cases, seven confirmed and 15 pending, the state said. Eleven were determined to be not related to vaping, and two were residents of other states treated in Kentucky.

“We are saddened to announce the death associated with this outbreak,” Eric Friedlander, acting secretary of the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said in a news release. “To protect public health, we urge Kentuckians – especially young people — to stop using all vaping products.”

The state Department for Public Health has been investigating reports of vaping-related illness since September, the release said.

A probable case means the person has a lung injury believed to be caused by vaping but may have other health issues, such as flu or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the department said. In a confirmed case, there is no other possible cause than vaping for the lung disease.

The agency offers assistance to people who want to quit using tobacco products, including cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

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