EVERETT — A Snohomish County woman in her 40s was hospitalized last week because of a vaping-related lung injury, the second confirmed case in the county.
The woman reportedly vaped both flavored nicotine and THC products, purchased legally, according to Snohomish Health District.
On Oct. 9, the Washington State Board of Health approved a 120-day emergency ban on the sales of flavored vaping products delivering nicotine and THC. Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order Sept. 27 asking the state health board to issue the emergency rule.
The first vaping-related illness confirmed in Snohomish County was a woman in her 20s in late September.
There have been 12 vaping-associated injuries reported in Washington, and about 1,300 cases across the country. Of these, 26 people have died, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Other states have taken action to stop or limit the sale of flavored vape products, which especially appeal to teens and young adults.
The Snohomish County 2018 Healthy Youth Survey showed that nearly half of high school seniors have tried an e-cigarette or vape pen at some point, and nearly a third of them currently use one. Only about a third of seniors said they believe regular vaping is harmful, the survey said.
The state earlier this year raised the legal age for buying tobacco and vapor products to 21 starting Jan. 1, 2020.
About 4,000 stores statewide sell nicotine vaping products. There are about 480 marijuana retailers licensed to sell vaping products with THC.
Dr. Chris Spitters, interim health officer for the Snohomish Health District, urges people who vape to quit.
“And those who don’t vape shouldn’t start,” Spitters said in a news release. “There are serious health concerns with using e-cigarettes or vapor devices, regardless of what product or substance you use. Although we do not know what is causing these lung injuries, we do know that the ingredients in vaping products are not regulated by the FDA, their long-term health effects are uncertain, and this national outbreak certainly points toward potentially serious and even fatal consequences for many users.”
People who use vapor or THC products should seek medical attention for coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, nausea or fatigue.
Those who need help to stop smoking or vaping should call their doctor or call the Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for access to safe and proven methods.