State health officials confirm first vaping-related death in Alabama

The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed on Wednesday the first vaping-related death in Alabama.

Health officials identified the victim only as an adult male in East Alabama and said his death resulted from a "vaping-associated injury," according to a news release.

Amid the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's ongoing investigation into a multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with vaping, the Alabama case brings the national total of confirmed vaping-related deaths to 18, according to CNN. Meanwhile, the CDC is investigating an estimated 1,080 lung injury cases in 48 states and one U.S. territory.

In the wake of becoming the 15th state to confirm a vaping-related death, Alabama health officials urged any individual seeking medical attention for suspected lung injury to report immediately to healthcare providers any use of any vaping products, such as vape pens, liquids, refill pods and cartridges. 

Affected Alabama patients to date have reported symptoms that include cough, shortness of breath and fatigue with symptoms worsening over a period of days or weeks before hospital admission, the release stated. Other reported symptoms have included fever, chest pains, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

According to the news release, the majority of Alabama cases have occurred among adolescents and young adults.

Preliminary CDC results mirror this finding with nearly 80 percent of 771 patients nationwide aged 34 or younger. Specifically, CDC data reveals:
• Nearly two-thirds of patients are 18-34;
• 21 percent of patients are 18-21; and 
• 16 percent of patients are under 18.

In addition, about 70 percent of patients nationwide have been male, and all reported patients have a history of electronic cigarette use or vaping.

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