DHEC Reports First Death from Vaping-Associated Respiratory Disease, EVALI
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Dec. 6, 2019
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has reported the state’s first death associated with an individual recently diagnosed with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI).
“We regret to report that South Carolina has suffered its first death in a person recently diagnosed with a vaping-related injury,” said DHEC Bureau of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Director Virginie Daguise, Ph.D. “Our state health officials continue to work with national and local partners to further investigate this ongoing public health matter.”
The patient was a resident in the Upstate, was 65 or older and was reported to have underlying health conditions. Patients associated with EVALI 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. This information is updated weekly on Wednesday afternoons.
While many adults attempt to quit using traditional forms of tobacco by switching to e-cigarettes, these products are not FDA-approved quitting aids and they are not proven to help people quit. Free quitting medications and counseling are available to all South Carolinians by calling the SC Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visiting www.quitnow.net/southcarolina.
Note to Editors: Due to privacy restrictions, DHEC is unable to provide any further information concerning any individual, including, but not limited to, details about physical condition, hospitalization, age, sex, and residence.