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Vaping-related lung injury blamed in first Utah death

In this Tuesday, April 10, 2018 photo, Marshfield High School Principal Robert Keuther displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students in such places as restrooms or hallways at the school in Marshfield, Mass. Utah school officials say there are no clear rules allowing them to confiscate e-cigarettes from students, currently. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health says a Salt Lake County resident who suffered a vaping-related lung injury died at their home.

They did not release details about the victim to protect that person’s identity, except to say he or she was under the age of 30.

Dr. Angela Dunn, UDOH state epidemiologist, called the death a real tragedy in the department’s outbreak investigation.

“This death is a sad reminder of the severity of these unexplained illnesses,” Dunn said in a statement. “Based on what we know about this outbreak and what may be contributing to it, our best advice to the public is to stop vaping products that contain THC.”

THC, the primary psychoactive component in marijuana, gives users of marijuana products a “high.” The state medical examiner confirmed the victim who died vaped THC prior to his or her death and did not go to the hospital.

As of this week, the health department confirmed 76 casesĀ of vaping-related lung injury in Utah. They are investigating another potential 14 cases.

According to the health department, 90 percent of those victims involved people treated in a hospital; some required intensive care treatment. 94 percent of Utah’s patients self-reported vaping THC products.

“We are working tirelessly on this outbreak to make sure we don’t have another death in Utah,” Dunn said in an interview on Dave & Dujanovic Wednesday.

“This is an ongoing outbreak. We are getting cases nearly daily being reported to us,” Dunn said.

Hear the rest of the interview: