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First vaping death in Florida raises questions about response

The past few months have seen hundreds of cases of lung injuries related to the use of vaping products or e-cigarettes. In some instances, the resulting respiratory distress has been so severe that the patients did not recover. Last week the Centers for Disease Control reported one death in Florida related to vaping. The fatality, the first reported in the state, is one of 12 that have occurred across the country per the CDC's report. 

The problem has become so significant that public health officials have given it a name: vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses. At the end of last month, the CDC issued a warning that vaping could lead to severe pulmonary disease. In early September, the agency took matters a step further in recommending that, while its investigation is ongoing, consumers consider refraining from using e-cigarette products at all. Furthermore, questions still remain as to what action, if any, the state government should take in response to the escalating crisis. 

Further complicating the matter is that research has yet to conclusively demonstrate a particular product or substance that is causing the illness. Until some individuals who reported only using nicotine-based vaping products fell ill, the evidence suggested that products containing THC, one of the active chemicals found in marijuana, was to blame. 

The governor has stated that although the state continues to work in concert with the CDC to investigate the possible causes of VAPI, a ban on vaping products may be premature at this point. Since it is unclear whether commercially available products or bootlegs are causing the problem, he has concerns about banning vaping for fear that people may turn to the bootleg products as a substitute which, for all anyone knows, may actually be the source of the problem. 

It is unclear whether researchers and investigators will ever be able to determine the exact cause of VAPI. However, if and when they do, it may be possible for those sickened, and their families, to seek justice against the makers and distributors of the products with the assistance of an attorney. 

 

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Moody, Salzman, Lash & Locigno, Attorneys & Counselors at Law

Moody, Salzman, Lash & Locigno, Attorneys & Counselors at Law
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Gainesville, FL 32606-7419

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