YAKIMA — A second case of vaping-related illness has been confirmed in Yakima County.
The new patient is in his or her 70s. Washington has had 22 cases since April, according to the state Department of Health.
The county identified another case in early December in which the patient was in his or her 20s.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control reported 57 deaths related to vaping as of Jan. 7 — up from 48 at the time of the first Yakima County diagnosis last month. A total of 2,602 cases of vaping-related illness across the 50 states, District of Columbia and two U.S. territories have been recorded to date.
While patients ages 18 to 24 are most prominent — and bans have focused on teen use — cases across the age spectrum have been reported.
The common factor among the patients is the use of e-cigarettes or vapor products. Vitamin E acetate has been recognized by the CDC as a chemical of concern, but the organization has not ruled out other factors.
“There’s still more research to be done, and there may be more than one cause,” a statement by the Yakima Health District said Tuesday.
In the same statement, Yakima County health officer Dr. Teresa Everson once again urged community members not to start or continue use of e-cigarettes and vapor products. She recommended those who do vape seek medical care as soon as health concerns arise.
In recent months, local health experts have reported that pneumonia cases have increased.
The state health board approved a 120-day renewable ban on all flavored vape products in October to combat the onslaught of illnesses.
Gov. Jay Inslee, who had proposed the ban, introduced a permanent ban to the Legislature on Tuesday for all flavored vapor products, aside from tobacco flavor. The proposal would also limit the amount of nicotine in vapor products, require manufacturing licenses for businesses producing them, require the disclosure of ingredients to the Department of Health and create new vapor product marketing limits.
At the start of January, the FDA announced a nationwide ban on the sale of fruit, candy, mint and dessert flavors from small, cartridge-based e-cigarettes. Flavor cartridges sold for large, tank-based vaping devices, as well as all menthol and tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, remain unaffected.