State health care sounds alarm: quit vaping
A second death related to vaping has prompted the Oregon Health Authority to advise Oregonians to stop vaping.
On Thursday, Sept. 26, Gov. Kate Brown urged Oregonians to stop vaping. "I have directed (the Oregon Health Authority) to provide recommendations for further steps to protect Oregonians and public health within 24 hours," Brown said. "I am also requesting that the Department of Justice advise my office on what legal options are available to the state, up to and including the temporary ban of all vaping products."
Brown's statement came after the Health Authority announced that another person had died of illness related to vaping.
"The safety of this product has been in question for a long time," Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer, told reporters during a Sept. 26 press conference. "We know this product is not safe and have seen health effects from it with acute respiratory injuries and death. We do urge all individuals to stop vaping whether that's nicotine-based products, cannabis products or other. People who haven't vaped, shouldn't start."
State health officials identified five cases of acute respiratory illness related to vaping both nicotine-based products and cannabis products. The state's first death related to vaping was announced on Sept. 3.
According to Sidelinger, the five patients who were hospitalized reported shortness of breath and trouble breathing, which progressed. More than 800 cases of vaping-related illness have been reported across the nation. There have been a dozen deaths reported in several states.
"The latest individual who died, like the other case was an adult, and did report using cannabis products," said Sidelinger, who could not provide more detailed information about the victim.
Sidelinger said that all five of the people being treated for vaping-related illnesses had used licensed cannabis products. The Health Authority expects more cases to be reported. The agency is working with the state and local officials to track the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses.
Multnomah County Deputy Health Office Dr. Jennifer Vines said the county sent a clinician report to several hundred Portland-area health care providers echoing Sidelinger's warning. The county also urged people to quit vaping and asked health care providers to watch for more cases.
The warning came days after Multnomah County commissioners said the county would work with state and federal officials to ban the sale of flavored nicotine products.
House Republican leader Christine Drazan issued also issued a Sept. 26 statement saying that safeguarding public health was the state's top priority. "I urge all Oregonians to take this advisory seriously and stop using vape products immediately until the Oregon Health Authority can properly investigate the risks," Drazan said.
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