Federal health officials say 18-year-old Colorado man's death was not caused by vaping illness

Posted at 4:25 PM, Jan 09, 2020

DENVER – The death of an 18-year-old Denver-area man last year was not caused by the vaping-related illness, the Centers for Disease Control has determined, according to state health officials.

In October, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said an investigation into whether the man’s death was caused by e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) and that the investigation would take at least six weeks.

On Thursday, Shannon Barbare, a spokesperson for CDPHE, confirmed the CDC had determined the man’s death was not caused by EVALI.

The state and CDC have also lowered the number of cases in Colorado to eight from 12 under revised case definitions from the CDC – because two of the cases did not involve hospitalizations and two other cases involve students who permanently reside in other states.

The CDC said this week that the number of cases of EVALI has been declining since they peaked in September but that they have not dipped below levels seen before the outbreak began in June 2019.

It also says that laboratory data supports other findings that vitamin E acetate is “closely associated” with the illness – turning up in the lung fluid of 48 of 51 patients who were tested. Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division has banned using vitamin E acetate and other ingredients for use in state-approved marijuana products.

The CDPHE also issued updated guidance for health care professionals for treating people with EVALI last week – specifically regarding patient discharges and follow-ups once they are released, as the CDC has found risks of rehospitalization or death among some patients who were discharged.

As of Jan. 7, there have been 2,602 people in the U.S. hospitalized for EVALI and 57 who have died, according to the CDC.