A 23-year-old man from the Tacoma area died of a vape-related illness October 30 at the Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls OR, according to his family.
They say Hadynn Outcalt-Arends had only been married for 19 days.
"He was on his honeymoon," said Robin Hurt of Tacoma, Outcalt-Arends' grandmother, who told KIRO 7 she, along with his grandfather, Lewis, raised him from the age of seven. "He was a great, generous kid, and bright," she said. "He was his high school's chess champion."
The Hurts say their grandson had been vaping to quit smoking after a stint with the California Conservation Corps a year ago. "He came home to say, 'Grandma I'm not smoking, I'm going to vape instead."'
"I said 'Grandson, that isn't good for you, you need to stop this,"' Lewis said. "And he would go off to other places and do his vaping."
Outcalt-Arends was only a few days into a honeymoon trip with his new bride in Klamath Falls Oregon, according this his family. She was preparing food and heard noises from the bedroom.
"She heard him gasping for air," Robin Hurt said. "She went to the bedroom and found him unconscious and foaming from his mouth, and she threw him to the floor and began CPR."
Doctors at Sky Lakes Medical Center told Hadynn's family they're studying his case, but they believe his death was related to vaping. Outcalt-Arends' family believes he was vaping only tobacco, possibly with flavored juice.
The Centers for Disease Control reports 1888 confirmed and likely cases of vape-related illnesses in 49 states, including 37 deaths. A majority of the cases are among young people who vaped products containing THC, according to the CDC.
Last month, Governor Jay Inslee issued an emergency ban on the sale of all flavored vaping products.
"We need to be mindful of the harm it can cause," Robin said. "And in this case, it's not just harm, it's death. It's the loss of our children, our grandchildren."
Lewis said he is eager to see more refined results from an autopsy, but the early indications give him reason to warn other families.
"I don't want to see any more children or grandchildren ever experience this, or grandfathers to ever experience losing a child from this product," he said. "It needs to be stopped."
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