The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed the first death linked to a vaping-associated lung injury, or EVALI, in the state. Privacy laws prevent the release of further information about this individual.
The outbreak in Louisiana now includes 30 total cases. Among the Louisianans with these lung illnesses/injuries, the primary exposure factor is a combination of nicotine and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active ingredient in marijuana.
“One death is one too many. We urge people to recognize the dangers of vaping and to stop vaping until more is known about the specific causes of lung injuries that have been occurring in people who use vaping products,” said Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary of the Office of Public Health.
According to statistics reported by the Department of Health, the median age of people diagnosed with a vaping-related lung illness is 29. The youngest person is 17 and the oldest is 71. The combination of nicotine and THC accounts for more than half of all illnesses (55%) in Louisiana, though one in five individuals (21%) with EVALI report use of nicotine alone.
Users of vaping products should immediately seek medical attention if they develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, fever and/or nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and vomiting.
The Louisiana Tobacco Quitline, (800) QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), a 24-hour-a-day, confidential, free tobacco cessation helpline links people who want to quit using tobacco with trained tobacco cessation specialists who create an individualized plan to quit. This free service is available in English, Spanish, and 150 other languages to people calling from anywhere in Louisiana. TYY and TDD accommodations for hearing impaired and deaf individuals are also available at (866) 228-4327.