DHEC reports first death from vaping-associated respiratory disease in SC

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – The state health department has reported the first death in South Carolina from vaping-associated respiratory disease.

“We regret to report that South Carolina has suffered its first death in a person recently diagnosed with a vaping-related injury,” said Virginie Daguise, director of the DHEC Bureau of Chronic Disease and Injury.

Due to privacy restrictions in medical records, DHEC cannot identify the deceased but did say the patient was a 65-year-old resident in the upstate. The patient was reported to have underlying health conditions.

Patients associated with the vaping related disease report symptoms such as:

•   cough, shortness of breath or chest pain

•   nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea

•   fever, chills or weight loss

“Through this national investigation, the CDC has identified Vitamin E acetate as a possible common factor in reported cases,” said DHEC physician Anna-Kathryn Rye Burch, M.D“Until we know more, we recommend that everyone considers refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products.”

Vitamin E acetate serves as a thickening agent for the oil used in some e-cigarettes. As of today, more than 40 deaths have been reported nationwide.

South Carolina currently has 35 confirmed cases of vaping-related lung injury, or EVALI.

Information regarding EVALI in South Carolina is available on DHEC’s E-cigarettes, Vapes, and Other Tobacco Products web page.

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