California issues stark warning: stop vaping now

The Guardian 1 month ago

Do not vape. Like, at all. Starting now.

That’s the clear-cut gist from an advisory released on Tuesday by the California department of public health which recommends setting down all vaping devices, at least until current investigations are complete. A press release urges “everyone to refrain from vaping, no matter the substance or source, until current investigations are complete”.

The announcement follows a rising number of deaths and illnesses linked to vaping and mounting pressure to crack down on the vaping industry. As of Tuesday, the California department of public health tallied reports of 90 people who were hospitalized with “severe breathing problems and lung damage”, and two deaths. More than 500 cases of lung damage have been reported across the US.

“We are seeing something that we have not seen before,” Dr Charity Dean, the acting state public health officer, said in a statement. “There are numerous unknown factors at this time, and due to the uncertainty of the exact cause, it is our recommendation that consumers refrain from vaping until the investigation has concluded.”

A Washington state health officer this month announced “a statewide outbreak” after public health officials confirmed two new cases of severe pulmonary disease linked to vaping, bringing the state’s total cases to three.

Also this month, the California governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive order that authorized a $20m public awareness campaign about the dangers of vaping and promised to step up efforts to halt the sale of illicit products.

The reports of illness and death tied to vaping come amid a growing number of lawsuits and investigations.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the US attorney’s office of the northern district of California has opened a criminal investigation into the e-cigarette giant Juul Labs, which is headquartered in San Francisco. The focus of the inquiry is still unclear, but it is reportedly in its early stages.

And the US Federal Trade Commission is also investigating whether Juul used deceptive social marketing that targeted minors.

In June, San Francisco became the first US city to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to stem the rise of youth vaping. At the time, the San Francisco supervisor Shamann Walton likened the effort to battling big tobacco in the 1990s.

State and federal public health officials have yet to identify the specific element making people sick. But the California department of public health reports that almost all people with lung damage from vaping say that they vaped or “dabbed” the cannabis products THC and CBD in cartridges, waxes, oils, and other forms, while some people report vaping only nicotine.


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Amid a seemingly growing number of vaping-linked lung illnesses cases, health officials in California recently issued a strong warning to residents: Stop vaping immediately.
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