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Nebraska reports first death related to e-cigarettes or vaping
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Nebraska reports first death related to e-cigarettes or vaping

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The first Nebraska death related to severe lung disease associated with e-cigarettes or vaping has been reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The person was over 65 and from the Douglas County area.

Public health officials said the death occurred in May.

In addition to the death in Nebraska, there have been 12 others reported in 10 states as part of a multistate outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Prior to the outbreak of lung injury associated with vaping in Wisconsin and Illinois this past August, vaping-associated lung injuries were unreported and not tracked by public health agencies," Dr. Tom Safranek, state epidemiologist, said in a news release. "Once the problem was recognized, states quickly ramped up surveillance and found current cases, but have also discovered cases that occurred before the August outbreak."

Nebraska currently has 11 cases of vaping-related illness and two under investigation. The majority are men who range in age from their late teens to 60s, the news release said. Some of those affected were hospitalized.

Health and Human Services advised Nebraska providers to consider vaping-related illness in patients who seek treatment for respiratory symptoms and have a history of vaping, and to report suspected cases to their local health department or HHS.

Leah Bucco-White, a spokeswoman for HHS, said the department is working with local health departments, the CDC and other states to investigate and study reported cases and combine all findings at the national level to come up with a complete picture of the health problem.

While investigation of devices and products is ongoing, the CDC has recommended the public consider not using e-cigarettes or vaping products, particularly those containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

 

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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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