Northern California woman dies from complications related to use of e-cigarettes, health officials say

NOVATO, Calif. -- A woman from Vacaville is the first in the Bay Area to die from complications related to the use of e-cigarettes.

According to the Marin County Health Department, the woman identified as 45-year-old Amanda Arconti died in a hospital in Novato. She was a previously healthy woman who began vaping six months ago.

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Until now, there had been 39 deaths nationwide associated with e-cigarettes. Amanda Arconti, who died last Friday at Novato Community Hospital, increased that number to 40 -- she's the fourth in California since July 2019 when the CDC began gathering this kind of data.

"She had symptoms of a cold from the previous days, presented herself to the emergency department, rapidly progressed to acute respiratory distress syndrome, was place on a breathing machine, sent to the ICU and succumbed within 24 hours," explained Dr. Matt Willis of the Department of Health and Human Services in Marin County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that there seems to be a common denominator in most of these cases.

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Samples were collected from 29 patients and found Vitamin E acetate in all of them. Vitamin E is used as an additive.

"We have over 10 samples of products that she was using and we're working with the California Department of Public Health and the CDC to test those samples to know exactly the chemicals that were in them," Dr. Willis told reporters.

In September, Marin County Public Health sent out warnings asking that people stop using e-cigarettes.

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That office says that one in three Marin County high school juniors reported vaping on a regular basis.

"We know in talking to her family that she had started vaping six months ago and had been aware of some of the communication we've been offering about the harms of vaping and had tried to quit herself," added Dr. Willis.

Health officials say her addiction to nicotine kept her from quitting.

The coroner says the autopsy and toxicology test have been scheduled for Thursday. The official cause of death will be determined after the exam.

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