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Utah Resident Dies From Vaping-Related Lung Injury

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed a Salt Lake County resident has died from a vaping-related lung injury.

Officials said the individual was younger than 30 and died at home without being hospitalized prior to the death.

“Public health officials investigating the death have determined the individual vaped THC prior to their death,” according to a statement from the health department. “In order to protect the identity of the deceased resident, no further information will be released.”

The UDOH has reported 76 cases of vaping-related lung injuries as of this week, and there are another 14 potential cases under investigation.

According to the health department, 94% of Utah cases self-reported vaping THC products.

“This death is a sad reminder of the severity of these unexplained illnesses,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, UDOH state epidemiologist. “Based on what we know about this outbreak and what may be contributing to it, our best advice to the public is to stop vaping products that contain THC.”

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“Our hearts ache for this person’s family,” according to a tweet from the department, “and we will continue to pursue answers about what is causing these illnesses so that other families won’t suffer a similar experience.”

The UDOH filed an emergency administrative rule on Oct. 2 that required retailers to post warnings about the dangers of vaping unregulated THC products. The rule also restricted the sale of flavored e-cigarette products to age-restricted retail tobacco specialty businesses.

Federal investigators have focused on rogue vape brand named “Dank” as they try to determine what has caused the mysterious illnesses that have been linked to vaping. The product is not a legal, tested brand.

Nationally, government officials have identified 1,080 confirmed and probable cases, including more than a dozen deaths, according to the Associated Press. All reported cases have a history of e-cigarette use.

Symptoms of the disease include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Nearly all the people have had to get medical care.

The Associate Press contributed to this report.

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