Home Health News N.J. woman dies from vaping-related illness as outbreak spreads – NJ.com

N.J. woman dies from vaping-related illness as outbreak spreads – NJ.com

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A woman from North Jersey is the first person in the state to die from an illness related to the national vaping outbreak, the state Department of Health announced Tuesday.

The identity and age of the woman, who died in August, were not released.

“This death underscores the potential dangers associated with vaping,” acting state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said in a statement Tuesday.

Officials also said the number of confirmed or probable cases of lung diseases associated with electronic cigarette use has risen to 14 in New Jersey, the department said.

The state is investigating 32 others. The ages of patients range from 15 to 51, officials say.

More than 800 people nationally — across 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands — have been inflicted by such illnesses. There have been 13 deaths across 11 states.

More than three quarters of the people suffering across the country consumed THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was the first comprehensive examination of the two-month-old outbreak.

The CDC, state health departments, and the federal Food and Drug Administration are all still investigating the causes of these diseases.

Gov. Phil Murphy has formed a special task force to come up with ways for New Jersey to fight the epidemic and regulate vaping. The group’s report is due this week.

Murphy also warned residents to stop vaping until more information is available.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said he wants to pass legislation that would gradually ban vaping completely in New Jersey.

Others have said the state should ban flavored e-cigarettes, which are very popular among children and young adults. Numerous states are considering similar action.

President Donald Trump has also said his administration will propose rules to create a nationwide ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

But the e-cigarettes industry and former smokers vehemently oppose such moves, saying vaping is a reliable alternative to smoking.

The industry says the problem is homemade vape cartridges sold on the black market, not legitimate products sold to adults 21 and older.

More information about the investigation is available on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/lunginjury.

NJ Advance Media staff writer Susan K. Livio contributed to this report.

Brent Johnson may be reached at bjohnson@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01.

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