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First vaping-related death reported in Nebraska

Posted at 3:27 PM, Sep 30, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) says the first death in the state related to severe lung disease associated with e-cigarettes or vaping has been reported.

Along with the death in Nebraska, there have been 12 deaths reported in 10 other states according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The individual who died was over 65 and from the Douglas County Health Department area, DHHS says.

“Prior to the outbreak of lung injury associated with vaping in Wisconsin and Illinois this past August, vaping-associated lung injuries were unreported and not tracked by public health agencies,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “Once the problem was recognized, states quickly ramped up surveillance and found current cases, but have also discovered cases that occurred before the August outbreak.”

Officials say the death in Nebraska happened in May.

Currently, Nebraska has 11 cases of vaping-related illness and two under investigation. Most cases are males, with an age range of late teens to late 60's. Some affected were hospitalized.

Nebraska medical providers have been alerted by DHHS, advising them to consider vaping-related illnesses in patients showing respiratory symptoms and a history of vaping and to report those suspected cases to their local health department or to DHHS.

DHHS is working with local health departments, the CDC and other states to look into any reported cases.

Although investigation into devices and products is ongoing, the CDC wants the public to consider not using e-cigarettes or vaping products--especially those containing THC.

For more information on e-cigarettes, visit this website.