Juul, pictured above, is a popular brand of electronic cigarette. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)
VALE – Following the death of a second Oregonian linked to electronic cigarette use and vaping, the Oregon Health Authority is urging people to immediately stop all vaping.
The warning includes both licensed and unlicensed products that include THC as well as nicotine, according to Dean Sidelinger, a state health officer.
State officials as of Friday had confirmed five cases of vaping-related lung injuries. The second individual to die was an adult who reported vaping cannabis products.
“It is thought that this acute respiratory injury that they had was associated with the vaping products that they used,” Sidelinger said.
Sidelinger said the five victims all bought their vaping supplies from licensed retailers.
“That is not the case with all the cases across the nation where there is a mix of both licensed and unlicensed retailers,” Sidelinger said. “All of the people in Oregon who have reported having this injury reported having licensed products.”
Shawn McKay, co-owner of Burnt River Farms, a marijuana dispensary in Ontario said that they have had some people ask about the vaping situation.
McKay said that Burnt River Farms relies on its manufactures who currently supply a list of all the ingredients contained in their products as well as a disclaimer that shows that their products have been tested and are safe.
McKay said that any product that doesn’t have all ingredients clearly listed will be discontinued.
The vaping situation is on their minds McKay said.
“But for now we are going to play it safe and see what happens,” he said. “We are prepared to pull any products that are determined to be unsafe.”
Jonathan Modie, spokesman for Oregon Health Authority, said the agency is working closely with the federal Centers for Disease Control and the federal Food and Drug Administration and expected by the end of the day Friday to recommend to Gov. Kate Brown how to contain the situation.
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Brown issued a statement on vaping-related illnesses and fatalities on Thursday Sept. 26.
Brown said that she is consulting with the Department of Justice about legal options available to the state, including a temporary ban of all vaping products.
“Until we know more, I am urging all Oregonians, adults and youth, to take heed of this public health warning and to cease the use of vaping products,” Brown said.
Modie said that a statewide ban on vaping products is under consideration.
“I think that is certainly on the table,” Modie said. “Until our team comes back with actual recommendations, we won’t know for sure.”
Modie stressed that the Oregon Health Authority wants the public to understand that switching from vaping to smoking tobacco isn’t a good choice.
“We certainly do not recommend tobacco,” Modie said.
Modie said that illness from vaping can come on very quickly. According to the CDC, symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever.
The CDC urges anyone concerned that they are suffering from vaping related lung damage to promptly seek medical aid, or also to call their local poison control center.
That rapid onset makes the vaping situation an immediate public health danger, Modie added.
News tip? Contact reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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