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Metro Public Health Department Officials Confirm First Reported Death in Davidson County from Vaping Associated Severe Pulmonary Illness

10/17/2019

Metro Public Health Department officials today confirmed an adult male is Nashville’s first death in the outbreak of severe pulmonary illness associated with the use of electronic cigarettes. MPHD officials are working closely with the Tennessee Department of Health to investigate the recent death. No additional information about the death is being released.

“Nashville’s first death and reports of severe pulmonary illnesses outbreaks associated with vaping nationwide should be a warning about the risks of severe lung injury from using these products” said Sanmi Areola, Ph.D., Interim Director of the Metro Public Health Department. “We will continue to monitor and investigate reports of illnesses and urge everyone to consider not using e-cigarettes and follow guidance from the CDC.”

The Tennessee Department of Health has received reports of 49 cases of serious lung injury among people who use electronic cigarettes or other vaping products. MPHD officials report six of those were Davidson County cases.

CDC Recommendations:

  • Regardless of the ongoing investigation: E-cigarette, or vaping, products should never be used by youths, young adults, or women who are pregnant.
  • Do not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC.
  • Do not buy any type of e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC, off the street.
  • Do not modify or add any substances to e-cigarette, or vaping, products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments.
  • Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
  • THC use has been associated with a wide range of health effects, particularly with prolonged heavy use. The best way to avoid potentially harmful effects is to not use THC, including through e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Persons with marijuana use disorder should seek evidence-based treatment by a health care provider.
  • There is no safe tobacco product, and the use of any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, carries a risk.

Anyone who develops the following symptoms after using an e-cigarette or vaping product should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain that’s characterized by sudden and intense sharp, stabbing, or burning pain in the chest when inhaling and exhaling.
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. Electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices are not approved by the FDA for smoking cessation. If you need help quitting tobacco products contact your health care provider or the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or www.tnquitline.org.

The latest information from CDC and TDH will be posted on the Metro Public Health Department’s website www.health.nashville.gov. MPHD will post a weekly update on the number of Davidson County cases.

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