Kentucky Health Dept. announces first probable vaping-related death

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health has announced the state’s first probable fatality related to vaping.

Health officials say the death is being reported as a part of its investigations related to e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI).

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According to the department, there have been 48 reports of possible EVALI. Seven cases have been confirmed. The fatality is included in 13 probable cases.

A probable case means that someone has a lung injury believed to be caused by vaping, but they also may have other health issues, like the flu or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

For confirmed cases, there is no other possible cause than vaping for the lung disease. A case is pending if the department is awaiting further information to make a determination.

Dr. Angela Dearinger, the department’s commissioner, said the fatality was a male in his late 20s. Other information is confidential to protect privacy.

Listed are several resources to help Kentuckians get on the path toward quitting:

  • Quit Now Kentucky offers confidential, one-on-one coaching for Kentuckians of all ages who want to quit tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, dip and chew. Coaching is available by phone or online chat, and in English or Spanish. Quit Now Kentucky is available from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern time (6 a.m. to midnight Central time), seven days a week. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669); Text QUITKY to 797979; or go to http://www.quitnowkentucky.org.
  • My Life, My Quit is a free, confidential quit line for teens 17 and younger who want to quit using tobacco products. This service is similar to Quit Now Kentucky, but was designed specifically for young people and uses coaches who are trained to work with adolescents. Coaching is available by text message, phone or online chat. For more information on how My Life, My Quit, call 1-855-891-9989, text START MY QUIT to 1-855-891-9989; or go to https://www.mylifemyquit.com.
  • This is Quitting is a free texting service for young adults and teens who want to quit using e-cigarettes. This service is for people ages 13 to 24 and only provides coaching by text message. People who enroll in This is Quitting receive one text per day leading up to the day they quit vaping, and for at least two months after they quit. This is Quitting is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To sign-up, text KENTUCKY to 88709.

For anyone using THC products, findhelpnowky.org is a real-time substance use disorder treatment availability locator and information center for Kentucky. The locator contains treatment providers and treatment openings across Kentucky. The site also contains information about substance use, treatment and recovery resources.