First vaping-related illness confirmed in Snohomish County

It’s the sixth case in the state. Nationwide, 530 people have made similar reports — seven have died.

EVERETT — The first vaping-related illness has been confirmed in Snohomish County.

About 530 similar cases have been reported across the country in the past few months. This is the sixth in the state. Seven people outside of Washington have died from their symptoms.

No single product has been linked to every case.

The Snohomish County woman is in her 20s. Other details have not been made public, such as her hometown, where she bought the product, what hospital she went to and whether her symptoms were caused by vaping nicotine or THC, the mind-altering substance in marijuana.

She purchased the vape liquid from a legal retailer and the packaging did not appear to be tampered with, according to the Snohomish Health District.

Her symptoms included shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. She was admitted to a local hospital in August, and has since been released.

The health district found out because of heightened awareness nationwide, spokesperson Heather Thomas said.

“Our staff was going through hospital discharge databases to see patients who met the criteria,” she said. “After talking with the patient, it was determined she was a case within the state.”

It’s likely there have been earlier instances that have gone undetected, Thomas said.

People who use vaping devices should consider quitting, said Dr. Chris Spitters, the district’s interim health officer.

“The safety of these products is uncertain at best, and their contents are not regulated by consumer protection agencies,” he said.

Those who do use these products should seek medical help if they experience fever, nausea, coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath.

Health care providers are encouraged to notify the Snohomish Health District of patients with unexplained lung disease who also have used any kind of e-cigarette within 90 days.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump said the federal government will act to ban flavors in vape liquid, to deter children from using it.

Those rules could only apply to nicotine products because it’s federally regulated, unlike THC.

About 16% of people who have reported these kinds of symptoms nationwide have been younger than 18 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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