A 76-year-old woman died after developing e-cigarette, or vaping, product-use associated lung injury (EVALI), marking San Diego’s first EVALI death, city health officials reported.

At least three other cases of EVALI have been reported in young adults in San Diego in recent weeks, the first cases to be reported in the city since 2019. All patients tested negative for COVID-19, and all reported recently vaping products that contained THC.

The California Department of Public Health, which hadn’t seen any EVALI cases since February 2020, confirmed in April new cases of EVALI in people who vaped THC products.

“While our community is understandably focused on COVID-19, it is important to remember that lung injury from vaping is still a major public health concern,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer. “People who vape, especially those using THC-containing products, are urged to stop.”

As of Feb. 18, 2020, a total of 2,807 people has been hospitalized with EVALI across the country and 68 have died, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak sharply increased last August before peaking in September. Cases had begun to wind down thanks to a public health push to warn consumers to avoid illegal THC vapes, and the removal of vitamin E acetate from some products. Law enforcement also took action to get illicit vape products off the street.

The CDC recommends people not use THC-containing vape products or vapes from informal sources such as friends, family, pop-up shops, or online sellers. The agency also warns youth, young adults, and pregnant women against vaping altogether.

Vape companies like JUUL have come under fire in recent months for targeting youth with flavored vapes and marketing campaigns featuring social media influencers. Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives.

Recognizing the critical threat to young people ensnared by nicotine addiction, and its effect on our nation’s educational system, our firm has also joined other nationally recognized law firms to represent school districts and public entities across the country  in the fight to stop the school vaping crisis.

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