SAN DIEGO -- As more data and statistics roll in, the San Diego County Health Department is growing increasingly concerned with the effects of vaping and e-cigarette use.
“This is a big deal,” said Wilma Wooten with the County Health Department. “People are dying.”
As of October 29, 1,888 lung injuries resulting from e-cigarette use or vaping were reported in the U.S., 37 of which resulted in death. Thirty-one of those lung injuries are from San Diego County.
The youngest person who has died from e-cigarette use was 17, but the most common age is 39, with men representing 58% of users.
There are three main ways people can buy e-cigarettes: Over-the-counter nicotine vape cartridges are available at convenience stores, THC vape cartridges are sold at dispensaries and empty cartridges can be purchased online. Most disturbing may be the third option, which gives users the ability to load whatever substance they want into the cartridge.
“For the products that are currently circulating, we don’t know what’s in it," Wooten said. "Until we know what's in it and causing people to get this lung infection, we're asking people to refrain.”
Wooten said vaping products could go through the next hurdle toward federal regulation in May 2020, when e-cigarette companies submit permit waivers.