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SACRAMENTO November 13, 2019 – As yet another California death related to vaping is reported in Marin County, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) continues to urge everyone to refrain from vaping and e-cigarette use, no matter the substance or source, until the cause of vaping-associated lung disease is known.
This recommendation remains strong in light of a new report released November 8 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcing Vitamin E acetate as a potential chemical of concern in the severe breathing problems and lung damage associated with vaping. While this finding represents progress in the investigation, it does not rule out other causes or ingredients. The only way to assure that you are not at risk is to refrain from the use of all e-cigarette or vaping products. If you choose to use cannabis products, purchase them only from a licensed retailer and be sure to read the ingredient label and avoid products containing Vitamin E acetate. You should avoid all products from unlicensed entities as the ingredients are unknown and may contain Vitamin E acetate and other potentially harmful ingredients. Be aware that most of the illnesses are associated with THC products purchased from unlicensed entities and other informal sources such as friends, family, and in-person or online dealers.
“It is tragic that yet another person has died from this cause in California and people continue to fall ill. We are working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CDC, other state health departments, and local health departments across California, investigating every case and testing products, and we’ll continue until this vaping associated outbreak is over,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and Director of CDPH. “Until that time, we urge everyone to stop vaping, especially products from informal sources.”
CDC, California, state and local health departments are making progress in the investigation. However, much remains unknown about the exact cause of the vaping-associated illnesses.
Since August 2019, the Department of Public Health has collected reports on 161 people in California who have a history of vaping and were hospitalized for severe breathing problems and lung damage. Four people have died. In the past week alone, 10 new cases in California have been identified.
To raise awareness about the dangers of e-cigarette use and vaping, the first phase of a new advertising campaign targeting young adults and parents called Outbreak is airing on TV, radio and online. The campaign addresses the outbreak of vaping associated lung illnesses and the growing teen vaping epidemic. For more information about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping devices, symptoms of the vaping-associated lung illness and where to find help, young adults should visit VapeOutbreak, and parents should visit FlavorsHookKids.
A Governor’s Executive Order paved the way for this $20 million statewide digital and social media public awareness campaign to educate youth, young adults, and parents about the health risks associated with vaping nicotine and cannabis products, produced by the State Public Health Department. The Department is also developing recommendations to reduce vaping among young adults and teens by placing warning signs with health risks where vaping products are sold and on product advertisements.