6 vaping-related illnesses being investigated in the Valley; organizations address disparities among the underserved

Health

FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno County health officials are investigating six vaping-related illnesses. E-cigarette juice and vaping oils in the device are not regulated.  It’s not only dangerous but very deadly.

Disparities remain for cigarette use among groups defined by gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, age, educational attainment, income, health insurance type, housing type, and community density even though tobacco use in California has decreased.

Tuesday morning Valley organizations came together to address the growing number of illnesses and deaths regarding e-cigarettes and vaping. 

“There is still nicotine in the e-juice you can still become addicted and on top of that, since they are not regulated we don’t know what is in them. Why would you put something in your body that you don’t know what it is,” said Fresno County Department of Public Health Melanie Ruvalcaba. 

She says no one really knows what is exactly in e-cigarette juice and with the growing number of tweens, teens, and young adults using them. It’s a recipe for a disaster.

“With the vaping, I think they are just not sure. They do know that the lungs are so severely damaged by either chemicals and when you vape the chemicals get deeper into your lungs,” said Ruvalcaba. 

Tulare County Health Department reported the death of a  40-year old man. This case is being investigated as severe as pulmonary injury associated with vaping. 

“Anyone can become addicted and addiction is about access to people and brain chemistry that’s it,” said Carol McGruder, Project Director for African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council.

At today’s presser valley organizations spoke about teens becoming addicted because companies are providing flavors that taste like candy.

“But this is what addiction looks like for our kids this flavored tobacco product in this really sleek and nice-looking devices,” said Ruvalcaba. 

You can buy them at many convenience stores and smoke shops. Right now there is an effort underway to tackle the problem in Sacramento. 

“Certain communities or specifically parents aren’t aware of the issue of vaping and don’t know what an e-cigarette is,” said Rosendo Iniguez, Hispanic Latino Coordinator Center. 

The use of electronic smoking devices and vapes among youth and young adults has increased.

Currently, vaping is associated with a strange lung disease which has resulted in five deaths nationwide.

Officials from several organizations addressed tobacco-related disparities among specific populations in California and highlight Regional Projects and Coordinating Centers funded to address this issue in the Central Valley.

Various policy initiatives currently in progress will be discussed as well as an update on the emerging health concern of vaping-associated pulmonary injury.

Disparities remain for cigarette use among groups defined by gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, age, educational attainment, income, health insurance type, housing type, and community density even though tobacco use in California has decreased.

The use of electronic smoking devices and vapes among youth and young adults has increased.

Currently, vaping is associated with a strange lung disease which has resulted in five deaths nationwide.

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