SMITHVILLE – Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley said a death Tuesday night may be related to vaping. He said the body of 27-year-old Anna Russell of Smithville was sent to the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory in Pearl for an autopsy.

No further information is being released.

Mississippi State Department of Health Communications Director Liz Sharlot said later it is premature to say if the death is related to vaping or not. She emphasized the state has its first confirmed case of vaping-related illness, which is not connected to the Monroe County case. 

The Mississippi State Department of Health released the following press release Wednesday related to electronic cigarette products.

Nationally, health officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of lung disease associated with e-cigarette products.

Nationwide, there have been 380 cases of lung illness reported from 36 states and one U.S. territory. Six deaths have been reported from six states.

Most patients have reported using e-cigarette products containing THC. Many patients have reported using THC and nicotine. Some have reported the use of e-cigarette products containing only nicotine.

Symptoms of severe pulmonary disease include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, fatigue and abdominal pain.

Some have said their symptoms developed over a few days while others have said their symptoms developed over several weeks.

Until more is known about the illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following actions:

• If you are concerned about the health risks, consider refraining from using e-cigarettes or vaping products.

• If you are an adult who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.

• If you have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and you have symptoms like those reported above, see your healthcare provider.

Additionally, the MSDH reminds Mississippians to not buy products off the street containing THC or other cannabinoids. Do not modify or add substances to e-cigarette products that are not intended by the manufacturer.

Mississippi Healthcare Providers are asked to report any cases of severe pulmonary disease with no clear cause and a history of e-cigarette product use within the past 90 days to MSDH at (601) 576-7725.

The MSDH recommends that smokers who are attempting to quit cigarettes should use evidence-based treatments such as counseling or FDA-approved medications. The Mississippi Tobacco Quitline QuitlineMS.com is a proven resource that is free to use.

For more information on quitting smoking, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/quit.

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