E-cigarette-related death reported in Tulare County

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
E-cigarette-related death reported in Tulare County
A person has died after complications related to using e-cigarettes in Tulare County, a Tulare County Public Health official confirmed Monday afternoon.

FRESNO, Calif. -- Vaping health concerns are hitting close to home.

The Tulare County Public Health Office confirmed an adult died from a lung illness linked to e-cigarettes on Saturday.

"It seems that any vaping is a risk," said Tulare County Public Health Officer, Dr. Karen Haught.

It is now the second vaping related death in California and the first in the Central Valley.

No other information has been released about the Tulare County death.

Health officials reported 63 cases of respiratory illnesses across the state, associated with vaping THC or cannabis oils. Many of those affecting the lungs.

"A severe respiratory distress, difficulty breathing, pain, fever," Haught said.

Haught says many e-cigarette users nationwide have reported similar symptoms. This includes shortens of breath, chest pains, nausea, and vomiting.

According to Haught, what's most alarming is they don't know the long term effects.

"We don't know enough information to know what its effects are and we know there are some conditions right now that are occurring in association with it," she said.

The dangers of vaping prompted Governor Gavin Newsom to sign an executive order Monday, stating $20 million will go towards a vaping awareness campaign.

RELATED: Fresno Unified warns parents about vaping

Warning labels will be required on e-cigarette ads and at stores. Authorities are also cracking down on illegal vaping products.

"A governor alone is not afforded the right, legally to ban these products outright, that we would need legislative support. Again, we're pushing the envelope. We'll see how far we can go," Newsom said in a press conference on Monday.

Haught hopes theses new measures are effective, "I think we should be doing our best to discourage people from starting to vape or continuing to vape."

In addition to the executive order, Governor Newsom is also exploring an e-cigarette tax based on products with nicotine content.

The Tulare County Public Health office is asking anyone who has used e-cigarettes and is experiencing respiratory symptoms to promptly seek medical attention.