This article originally appeared on VICE US
A 40-year-old Californian is the seventh person to die of a vaping-related illness as a rash of mysterious lung injuries sweeps the country.
The Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency said in a statement posted to their Facebook page Monday night that a local person had died of “complications related to the use of e-cigarettes.” The unnamed person was the second Californian to die of a vaping-related lung injury; Los Angeles health officials announced the death of an LA resident earlier this month.
Tulare County, located south of Fresno, said it has seen at least three vaping-related illnesses. It did not specify the severity of those illnesses, what vaping cartridges might have led to those cases, the vaping habits of those sickened, or when people began falling ill.
Still, at least 380 similar cases have been recorded throughout the country as of Sept. 11, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And many of those cases have ties to black-market THC cartridges, although the CDC has yet to point to a specific vaping product as the culprit.
“With sadness, we report that there has been a death of a Tulare County resident suspected to be related to severe pulmonary injury associated with vaping,” Karen Haught, Tulare County’s public health officer, wrote in a statement. “The Tulare County Public Health Branch would like to warn all residents that any use of e-cigarettes poses a possible risk to the health of the lungs and can potentially cause severe lung injury that may even lead to death.”
Monday’s announced death followed California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order to push legislators to stop kids from vaping with a new $20 million ad campaign. E-cigarettes are popular with younger people, and were once advertised as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. The recent vaping deaths are actually scaring some people back into smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Apart from the California deaths, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Oregon and Minnesota have also reported fatalities linked to vaping. The CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center in light of the deaths, according to CNN. The agency is recommending people avoid vaping until they know more, and is warning people to watch out for coughing, nausea and fatigue.
Cover: A man breathes vape from an e-cigarette at a vape shop in London, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. A report by the British science and technology MPs committee suggest that rules around e-cigarettes should be relaxed to help accelerate already declining smoking rates. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)