A 17-year-old from the Bronx has been identified as New York’s first vaping-related fatality. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the teen’s death on Tuesday, and called the rise in e-cigarette-linked illnesses a “public health crisis.”
As of Monday, the state had received 110 reports of vaping-related illnesses, with patients ranging in age from 14 to 69. All reported using at least one vape product prior to becoming ill. The state has previously reported that at least one vape product containing vitamin E acetate has been linked to nearly every patient that submitted a product for testing.
Vitamin E acetate is found in cannabis products, but federal health officials have declined to identify a particular electronic cigarette, vaping device, liquid or ingredient behind the more than 1,000 illnesses reported nationwide. But last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did urge people not to use THC vaping products. In addition to New York’s fatality, at least 21 other deaths have been reported across 15 states.
The median age of patients who have died is 50, although they range from 27 to 71 years old. About 70 percent of patients treated for vape-related lung illnesses, which have been described as similar to chemical burns obtained by exposure to mustard gas, are male.
On Monday, school districts in Kansas, Missouri and New York sued e-cigarette maker Juul. The schools claim the company has been using deceptive marketing tactics to endanger the lives of students. The company last month said it would stop advertising in the U.S., and replaced its CEO.
In announcing the teen’s death on Tuesday, Cuomo also called on federal government officials to act.