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First Known Vaping-Related Death Reported In LA County

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Public health officials on Friday said they are investigating Los Angeles County's first known death of a person associated with the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping.

The victim was described as an older adult over 55 with chronic health issues, according to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officer Dr. Muntu Davis. He did not offer any additional details at an afternoon news conference other than saying vaping is considered the probable cause of death.

A total of 12 cases of vaping-associated pulmonary injury, or VAPI, have been reported in Los Angeles County, officials said Friday. In all but one of those cases, the patients had a "history of using [a] cannabis or marijuana-type product," specifically THC, which is the active chemical in marijuana.

According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control (CDC), more than 25 states have reported possible cases of lung illnesses with the use of e-cigarette products, with two deaths.

Because of the rise in such cases across the nation, CDC officials said people should consider not using e-cigarette products, but if they do, they should monitor themselves for symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever. People were also urged to not buy e-cigarette products off the street or modify them in any way.

The death marks the first overall vaping-related fatality in L.A. County and the fourth such death nationwide.

Health officials said it was not yet clear whether the deaths were associated with one specific vaping device or product.

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