GEORGIA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and the state's health department have issued a health advisory after a second death related to vaping in Georgia.
Channel 2 Action News told you about the first vaping-related death in Georgia last month. The Georgia Department of Public Health and Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the second death Tuesday night.
"The safety of Georgians is my top priority," Kemp said in a statement. "I applaud the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Georgia Department of Public Health for their tireless work to conduct research and inform the public about this serious issue.
"This public health advisory will notify Georgians of the potential hazards associated with adolescent vaping and encourage youth to take proactive steps to safeguard their health and well-being. We are asking convenience stores, vape shops, and leaders in communities throughout Georgia to join us in raising awareness."
There have been more than 1,000 cases of vaping-related illness nationwide.
According to the CDC, Georgia's Department of Public Health has identified 14 cases of vaping-associated illness, including the two deaths. The cases range in ages from 18 to 68 years.
People who have gotten sick reported vaping a variety of substances, including nicotine, THC and CBD products.
The scare surrounding vaping is affecting local businesses.
Thomas Hails owns The Happy Hookah. He told Channel 2's Richard Elliot that he welcomes the idea of the FDA to step in and start enforcing proposed regulations.
"People are scared. There's a lot of misinformation out there from either side of what's going on. Whether it's the health side or the shop side. There's kind of an unknown zone," Hails said.
Elliot sat down with state epidemiologist Dr. Cherie Drenzek on Wednesday. She said while many of the illnesses appear to have come from off-market or homemade vaping cartridges, some of them haven't.
"The fact is, that it's not possible really to know with certainty what's in all of these vaping products," Drenzek said.
She told Elliot that health officials are seeing everything from an accumulation of oils to chemical burns in those lung injuries.
Drenzek said until they can figure out what's causing the problems, the state is warning people to just stop vaping.
"We urge Georgians that because of the imminent health threats associated with vaping, we urge Georgians not to vape," she said.
The first person who died in Georgia last month had a history of heavy nicotine vaping, but no history of vaping THC.
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