Dallas County Health and Human Services reported its first vaping-related death in the county this week. The patient was a teenager and had a chronic underlying medical condition.
“Reporting a death in a teen due to EVALI is so tragic,” Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County’s health director, said in a statement. “We are seeing that severe lung damage, and even death, can occur with just short term use of these products.”
EVALI stands for “E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use Associated Lung Injury.”
As of Dec. 30, there were 53 reports of confirmed or possible cases where people were hospitalized due to vaping-related illnesses in Dallas County — that includes a teen who had been vaping for just a month. The ages of patients have ranged from 13 to 52. About one-third of patients were less than 18 years old, and nearly half were under 21.
Nationally, there have been more than 2,500 reports of hospitalizations and 55 deaths. Texas has reported 228 confirmed cases. About half of those cases were in North Texas. Two people in Texas have died from vaping-related illnesses — including the death in Dallas County.
Federal health authorities warn that Vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette or vaping products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, previous research suggests when vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung functioning.
They also warn that people should not use vaping products that contain THC – the compound that produces a high in marijuana.
On Thursday, the Trump administration announced a ban on cartridge-based e-cigarettes with sweet flavors. The ban excludes menthol or tobacco flavors. The new rule will take effect in 30 days.