Health officials report first vaping-related death in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indiana State Department of Health reported the state's first vaping death, according to WXIN.

The agency said an Indiana resident died due to a severe lung injury linked to a history of e-cigarette use, also commonly referred to as vaping.

"This is a tragedy for the family involved and a great concern for us at ISDH," said Pam Pontones, the Deputy State Health Commissioner and State Epidemiologist.

The Indiana State Department of Health is investigating 30 cases of severe lung injury and confirm eight of those cases are caused by vaping.

"We rule out everything bacterial and viral beforehand, before we're calling this lung injury related to vaping," said Kris Box, M.D., State Health Commissioner

But, there are still several questions.

"We don't understand what's in the e-juice or what's in the devices that are causing these incidents," Pontones said. "So, we really need to understand that."

The mystery in the vaping products is what local vape shop owner Benjamin Anderson says is the problem.

He says the products he sells comply with Indiana's laws.

"People are black marketing THC cartridges to give to people, so I believe that's why it's become rampant now," Anderson said.

Anderson says he feels vapes are the best way to kick a cigarette smoking habit.

"I don't believe if you've ever not smoked, I don't believe you should vape," Anderson said. "I don't believe it's just something you should...do because your friends are doing it."

Still, the State Department of Health says they do not know enough about the product or the practice to know what is safe.

"You may want to consider not doing this until we can figure out what is happening," Pontones said.

The agency considers the use of e-cigarettes to be a rising public health crisis in the U.S. with an alarming increase in vaping among teens.

Last week, Indiana's governor, Eric Holcomb, announced a $2 million plan to curb youth vaping.

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