17-Year-Old May Be First Teen Vaping Death in U.S.

A 17-year-old Bronx boy whose death was disclosed by New York State officials on Tuesday appears to be the youngest person in the United States to die of a vaping-related respiratory illness.

The teenager died on Friday after being hospitalized twice in September with a vaping-related illness, becoming the state’s first fatality from the mysterious lung disease, according to state health officials.

“Parents have to know; young people have to know,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in announcing the teenager’s death on Tuesday. “You are playing with your life when you play with this stuff.”

The death brought the total number of vaping-related deaths in the United States to 23, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state agencies. New Jersey health officials said last week that an adult woman was the first resident of that state to die of a vaping-related illness.

The New York City medical examiner’s office was conducting its own inquiry into the death announced by the state, according to a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“The city is investigating the case in question but no official determination has been made at this time,” the spokeswoman, Avery Cohen, said.

Of the 18 deaths tallied by the C.D.C. as of Oct. 1 — the agency’s latest official figures — the youngest victim was 27, officials said. The four other deaths reported to state agencies since then involved adults, officials said.

As of Tuesday, the New York State Department of Health had received 110 reports from doctors about severe pulmonary illness among patients ages 14 to 69 who had used at least one vape product before becoming sick, officials said. Around 1,100 cases of vaping-related illness had been reported nationwide.

Patients with vaping-related lung injuries typically show symptoms that resemble flu or pneumonia.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C., said at a news briefing last week that the outbreak in vaping-related illnesses was “continuing at a brisk pace.” She emphasized that the illnesses were serious and life-threatening and called the proportion of patients hospitalized and in intensive care “just terrible.”

About 70 percent of the patients were male, 80 percent were under 35 and 16 percent were younger than 18, she said. The median age for those who died was about 50.

Several states, including New York, have responded to the outbreak, and to the increasing rate of teenage vaping, with efforts to ban flavored e-cigarette pods that are especially popular with children.

But last week, a New York appeals court blocked the statewide ban on the flavored pods just before it was to take effect. Vaping groups had sued to stop the ban, arguing that it would hurt retailers and adults who use the products to quit smoking tobacco. The vaping industry is also battling a more extensive ban of all vaping products in Massachusetts, which recently reported its first vaping death.

Vaping Illnesses

As of Oct. 8, there have been 1,080 vaping illnesses and 23 deaths. More maps and charts.





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Cases of lung illness

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Cases of vaping-related lung illness

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Cases of vaping-related lung illness

Vaping-related deaths

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By The New York Times | Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state agencies

Source: NYT

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