PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Health Authority confirmed the second vaping-related death in the state on Thursday.
The OHA is warning everyone to immediately stop using all vaping products — cannabis, nicotine and other.
This most recent death is among the 5 previously-reported cases in Oregon and involved a person who had been hospitalized after vaping cannabis products.
The Oregon cases are part of a national outbreak of severe lung injuries linked to vaping and e-cigarette use, according to the OHA. More than 800 cases have been reported across the country and 12 additional people (not including this most recent death) have died in 10 states, including Oregon’s first fatality announced earlier this month.
Those who have become sick experienced symptoms including shortness of breath, cough or chest pain.
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state health officer for Oregon, said in a Thursday press conference all 5 confirmed cases involved adults who vaped cannabis products. He said the person who most recently died had reported a history of vaping.
“We urge all individuals to stop vaping,” Sidelinger said. “People who haven’t vaped shouldn’t start.”
Sidelinger said it will take time for investigators to pinpoint which products may be to blame but all of the products used by the patients in Oregon came from licensed cannabis retailers.
He said the duration of the lung illness in the fatal cases varied from patient to patient and that some individuals were new to vaping. The CDC has called on health officials to follow up with patients who have been treated for vaping-related lung illness and survived — suggesting long-term lung damage is possible.
“No level of vaping is safe,” Sidelinger said. “I think we are going to see an increased number of cases and, tragically, more deaths.”
In a statement released shortly after OHA’s announcement, Gov. Kate Brown said she is “requesting that the Department of Justice advise my office on what legal options are available to the state, up to and including the temporary ban of all vaping products.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to announce an executive order on vaping on Friday.
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