Kansas death linked to vaping-related lung disease

Kansas health officials have confirmed the first death in the state associated with an outbreak of lung disease related to vaping or e-cigarettes.

Kansas State Epidemiologist Dr. Farah Ahmed says the death was a Kansas resident over the age of 50 who had a history of underlying health issues.

That patient was hospitalized with symptoms that progressed rapidly, according to officials.

Health officials say the investigation has not identified any specific vaping or e-cigarette products linked to all cases, but many patients report using products containing cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol.

Kansas does not have detailed information on what types of products were used by the person who died.

“Our sympathies go out to the family of the person who died,” Governor Laura Kelly said in a press release. “Health officials are working hard to determine a cause and share information to prevent additional injuries. As that work continues, I urge Kansans to be careful. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way, and please follow the recommendations of public health officials.”

Kansas State Health Officer and Secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Dr. Lee Norman said health officials nationwide continue to work aggressively to gather information and determine what has caused these lung injuries.

To date, Kansas has six reports associated with the outbreak. Three patients have been classified as confirmed or probable cases and three cases are still under investigation.

As investigations into these cases continue, CDC is recommending people avoid vaping or using e-cigarettes. Also, people with a history of vaping who are experiencing lung injury symptoms should seek medical care.

Symptoms among cases included shortness of breath, fever, cough, and vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms reported by some patients included headache, dizziness and chest pain.

For individuals wanting more information on how to quit tobacco products, please call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.