After first vaping-related death in Tennessee, Health Department urges people to quit now
Health officials reported Tennessee’s first death from vaping related illnesses. There have been nearly 1500 cases of vaping related illnesses across the country, with 53 in Tennessee.
Paula Collier with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department says anyone who is still vaping is taking a major risk.
READ MORE | Tennessee marks first vaping-related death
"Vaping has been marketed as safer than smoking and we don't really know if it's going to be safer than smoking,” Collier said. “In this case it's killing people a lot sooner than traditional cigarette use."
Collier says 66% of people with vaping related illnesses are men, and the median age is just 24.
To her, that number is a major concern.
"Oftentimes youth and young adults just don't realize that there are risks involved in these products and we're really urging them to think about it and not take that risk,” she said.
And the risks aren't just for vape-users.
"There is secondhand vape, you're exposed to all of the chemicals that the person vaping is exposed to even though it smells better. There are still toxic chemicals in there,” Collier said.
The Health Department is doing its part to spread the word. But officials want businesses to get involved too, by adding vaping to their existing non-smoking policies.
The Health Department offers resources for people looking to quit vaping on their website.