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Georgia reports the first death from a vaping disease



The Georgia Department of Public Health announced the first Wednesday in the state of a vaping disease.

The state agency stated that the patient was a man over 35 who did not live in the Atlanta subway. He has had a history of severe nicotine vaping, but no history of THC vaping, which is associated with most of the mysterious vaping-related lung diseases affecting e-cigarette users.

Death is one of nine confirmed cases in Georgia, with nine people hospitalized and developing pneumonia for "unknown infectious cause," according to the agency.

In Georgia, patients range in age from 1

8 to 68 years. The average age of cases is 26; seven are men.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention works with States to investigate more than 500 cases of vaping-related diseases. There are at least eight deaths confirmed in seven conditions.

No specific electronic cigarette device or substance is associated with all cases. Electronic cigarettes are devices with a battery that heat the liquid, turning it into vapor for inhalation. They are an increasingly popular alternative to flammable cigarettes.

Doctors report cases of otherwise healthy patients, many in their late teens and 20s, appearing in emergency rooms, panting and breathing. The CDC said the outbreak did not appear to be caused by an infection but by exposure to chemicals, possibly a solvent mixed with nicotine or THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana.

But with the cause of the disease still unknown, the CDC has urged people to consider refraining from using electronic cigarettes. People who decide to continue vaping should not buy vaping products on the street and should not change or add substances to the products.

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Symptoms of vaping-related diseases that worsen over time include coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The rash of cases has intensified the verification of e-cigarettes, although many health experts consider them less harmful than traditional cigarettes that release toxins through burning.

Kevin Burns, CEO of Juul, the dominant e-cigarette company in the US, stepped down on Wednesday. Juul has also announced that it is suspending all broadcast, print and digital advertising of products in the US as it faces comprehensive investigations accused of hooking teenagers with flavored nicotine pods.

K.C. Crosthwaite, CEO of Altria, the largest tobacco company in the United States and manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, replaces Burns. Altria holds a 35% stake in Juul. (Altria is expected to open a new non-burned tobacco store in Lenox Square in Bukhead in the coming weeks, the company's first store before the national launch.)