KUCHING: A woman in her 50s has become the sixth person in the United States (US) to have died from severe respiratory illness linked to vaping, news reports said.
Although the woman in Kansas had a history of health problems, she had died within a week of using e-cigarettes for the first time, NBC News reported yesterday.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment secretary Dr. Lee Norman told the network that she had developed full-blown acute respiratory distress syndrome.
The doctor also said that the death was a warning that older adults were at risk although many patients in the country were in their late teens.
“It’s a reminder that older people with pre-existing illnesses are probably going to have worse clinical outcomes if they do develop problems with vaping,” he said.
The news report said that there were at least 483 confirmed or suspected cases in 39 states in the US.
It added that the rapid and worrisome increase has prompted a Congressional hearing on the matter, scheduled for later this month.
The report pointed out that patients tend to arrive at hospital short of breath and coughing, and many have also had fevers, general fatigue and gastrointestinal problems.
“It is not unusual for patients to be put into intensive care units, and on ventilators. All reported vaping nicotine, THC or a combination of the two in the days and weeks before falling ill,” it said.
Last Friday, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that health authorities in the US was conducting an investigation into the outbreak of lung illness associated with using e-cigarette products.
“CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use.
“This investigation is ongoing and has not identified a cause, but all reported cases have a history of using e-cigarette products,” it said.