TRENTON (WCBS 880) — New Jersey health officials on Tuesday announced the state’s first vaping-related death, bringing the nationwide total of confirmed deaths to 15.
The Department of Health said the death, involving an adult female from northern New Jersey, happened in August. On Tuesday, the health department also noted the total number of confirmed and probable cases of serious lung disease in the state had risen to 14.
“The New Jersey Department of Health is saddened to announce a death associated with this outbreak. This death underscores the potential dangers associated with vaping,” said Department of Health Acting Commissioner Judith Persichilli, who chairs the Electronic Smoking Device Task Force.
Fourteen other deaths have also been identified as part of the outbreak of vaping-related lung illness: two in California, two in Kansas, two in Oregon and one in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi and Nebraska.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed there are over 800 cases of a breathing illness related to vaping reported nationwide.
Most patients sickened have said they were vaping liquids or other products containing THC – the chemical which gives marijuana its high.
Some patients, however, said they vaped only nicotine – prompting officials to advise people to avoid any vaping product until federal health officials can better understand the illness.
This summer, President Donald Trump said his administration is considering a nationwide ban on thousands of flavors used in vaping products in an effort to fight the vaping-related illnesses.
Legislative leaders in New Jersey have also proposed a statewide ban on all vaping products entirely.