Patients with vaping-related lung injuries typically show symptoms that resemble flu or pneumonia. No single substance has been shown to cause the illness, but several marijuana products have been identified as possible culprits. It had not been determined by Tuesday what substance was responsible in the Bronx death, a state health official said.
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. The Trump administration said last month that it was considering a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
Last week, a state appeals court blocked the New York 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-related death.
The disclosure of the Bronx teenager’s vaping-related death came as New York City filed a federal lawsuit against 22 websites it claims targeted and sold e-cigarette products to people under 21, the minimum legal age to buy tobacco and e-cigarette products in New York.
The online retailers named in the suit are based in California, Florida and about a dozen other states. They are accused of luring underage customers in New York by advertising on social media, and by offering products in flavors like “Lemon Twist,” “Candy Cane,” “Cookie Butter,” “Fruity Loops” and “SaltNic Mighty Mint.”