First Alabama Death Related to Vaping Injury


A man from East Alabama is the state’s first resident to die from a vaping-associated injury, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). This comes amid a nationwide outbreak of lung disease linked to vaping.

In a statement issued Wednesday, officials say there are currently 19 cases of vaping-related illness under investigation across the state, mostly among adolescents and young adults.

“While this current outbreak is being investigated, the safest option is to refrain from using any e-cigarette or vape product,” state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said in a statement. Officials also stress that residents should not buy products from unregulated sources.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 12 deaths and is investigating more than 800 cases of the illness in 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Those numbers do not include data from Alabama.

CDC chart citing cases of vaping-related injury under investigation nationwide
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC chart citing cases of vaping-related injury under investigation nationwide

So far, it is not clear what is causing the potentially fatal lung injury, but it is spurring action among politicians and the medical community.

According to the CDC, no single product or substance has been linked to all cases, but findings suggest that products containing the chemical THC could play a role in the outbreak. On its website, the CDC states “most of the patients (under investigation) reported using THC-containing products or both THC-containing products and nicotine-containing products. Some of the patients reported using only nicotine-containing products.”

Officials with the ADPH are asking residents with a history of vaping or e-cigarette use to inform healthcare providers if they experience a related injury. They also want providers to report any suspected cases for further investigation. Symptoms of vaping-related illness include cough, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Correction, Oct 2, 2019: In an earlier version of this story, we said “findings suggest the chemical THC could play a role,” which could leave the impression that officials have identified THC as the culprit. We have corrected the post to clarify that “findings suggest that products containing THC could play a role.”

More Front Page Coverage

Hack Exposes Vulnerability Of America’s Energy Supply Lines

Colonial Pipeline shut down its 5,500-mile pipeline on Friday after a ransomware attack. The pipeline made news back in 2016 after a gasoline spill in Shelby County. Some say it takes major events to bring attention to the pipeline's vulnerabilities.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Medical Marijuana And Yoga Bills Pass, Gambling Bill Stalls

A medical marijuana bill goes to the governor. Meanwhile a gambling bill looks unlikely to pass this session.

Alabama Legislature Drops Resistance, OKs Medical Marijuana

The bill faced strong resistance among House lawmakers.

WBHM Wins Four Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM has won four regional Edward R. Murrow awards, including the award for Overall Excellence. WBHM also won awards in these categories: Continuing Coverage – The pandemic rages through Alabama, WBHM News Team Excellence in Sound – “Through The Intercom, Nursing Home Employee Sings To Residents” by Mary Scott Hodgin Hard […]

New Orleans’ Return To Cultural Parades Is A Step Toward Healing In The South

In April, Mardi Gras Indians held a funeral and parade for one of their own – one of a few large cultural events to occur since the pandemic started and most large events in the region were canceled.

Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Increase 100% In Jefferson County

The powerful synthetic opioid is now being mixed with drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, leading to more overdose deaths.

More Front Page Coverage