Albany, N.Y. — Two more people — both women — died as a result of vaping-related illnesses, the state announced today.
One of the women was a 20-year-old from New York City; the other was a woman in her 50s from Ontario County, according to an announcement from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office.
That brings to four the total number of deaths from vaping-related illnesses in New York.
Nationally, 60 people have died from vaping-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In New York, there have been 220 reports of vaping-related illnesses to the state. Of those, 150 have been confirmed, according to state data from Jan. 7. Nationally, 2,668 cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported to the CDC, which is investigating the illnesses and deaths along with the state health departments across the nation.
The illnesses and deaths began being reported in July. Scientists are still unclear on what, exactly, is causing the illnesses. In many cases, including most of those in New York, the sickened people had been vaping substances that contained THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes you high.
Researchers have been investigating a link between the illnesses and the additives put into the vaping liquid. Vitamin E acetate has been found in most of the THC vape liquid and scientists are trying to determine whether that is playing a role in the lung illnesses.
Cuomo issued an emergency health order in the fall that attempted to stop the sale of all flavored vape juice, but the vaping industry challenged that suit in court and currently has an injunction that allows them to continue their sales.
At the end of 2019, Cuomo announced that he would propose a law this year that would prohibit the sale of all flavored vape liquids.
One of the biggest public health concerns is the impact vaping is having on teens. About one in four high-school kids said they vaped in a national health survey of middle- and high-school kids.
Marnie Eisenstadt writes about people and public affairs in Central New York. Have an idea or question? Contact her anytime: email | twitter| Facebook | 315-470-2246
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