New York recorded its first vaping-related death. On Tuesday, New York State officials disclosed that a 17-year-old Bronx boy has died of a vaping-related illness. While 23 people have died due to the vaping related illness in the U.S., he is the first teenager to succumb to the mysterious lung injuries caused due to vaping.
The teenager was under medication since September due to vaping-related respiratory illness, according to the state health department. He was hospitalized again in late September but died on October 4th.
While announcing the teenager’s death on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said, “Parents have to know; young people have to know. You are playing with your life when you play with this stuff.”
The total number of vaping-related deaths in the U.S. has increased to 23, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state agencies reported. According to New Jersey health officials, the first resident of the state to die of the illness was an adult woman.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio noted that the New York City medical examiner’s office was carrying out its investigation to figure out the cause of the death. Avery Cohen, the spokeswoman said, “The city is investigating the case in question but no official determination has been made at this time.”
The New York State Department of Health says doctors have reported 110 cases of severe pulmonary illness among patients ages 14 to 69. These patients had used at least one vape products before getting sick, officials said. Nearly 1,100 cases of vaping-related illness have been recorded nationwide.
Those affected with vaping-related lung injuries ideally show systems that are similar to either flu or pneumonia. While investigators have not been able to find the root of the illness, numerous marijuana products have been identified as probable culprits. As of Tuesday, the substance that caused the death of the teenager had not been recognized, a state health official noted.
Principal Deputy Director of the C.D.C., Dr. Anne Schuchat said at a news briefing that the sudden surge in vaping-related illnesses was “continuing at a brisk pace,” further emphasizing that the illness was life-threatening. Dr. Schuchat deemed the number of patients hospitalized as “just terrible.”
About 70 percent of the patients were male, 80 percent were under 35, and 16 percent were under 18, she added. The average age of those who died was about 50.
New York and several other states have taken steps to restrict the outbreak and to get the increasing rate of teenage vaping under control. Keeping in line with that, these states have banned the sale of flavored e-cigarette pods that have garnered huge popularity among children. The Trump administration could be on the verge of executing a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
While New York’s ban on the flavored pods was to be implemented last week, the state appeals court prevented the ban from taking effect. Makers had sued to discontinue to ban as it would cause huge loss to retailers and adults who have resorted to using vape products to kick the conventional butt.
The Bronx teenager’s death announcement came as New York City has filed a federal lawsuit against 22 online stores that it says are targetting and selling e-cigarette products to users under 21. It is worth mentioning here that the minimum legal age for buying tobacco or e-cig products in New York is 21.
The websites named in the suit are located in various states including California, and Florida. These online retailers reported targetted underage customers in New York by promoting their products on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc. These products come in various flavors including SaltNic Mighty Mint, Fruity Loops, Cookie Butter, Candy Cane, and Lemon Twist.
The city claims these sites promoted their products to minors by selling devices that were “small and inconspicuous, such that they can be easily hidden from parents and educators.”
In a statement, Mr. de Blasio blamed the sites for “preying on minors.” In the suit, the city said it wanted the sites to stop selling and marketing in New York City, and to pay the “costs of abating the public health crisis of underage e-cigarette use within the city.”