HARTFORD, CT—The state Department of Public Health said Thursday that a Connecticut resident has died after being hospitalized with a “lung injury related to vaping.”
The DPH said the patient, who was between the ages of 30 and 39, died last week. State officials consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm that the person died from a vaping-related lung injury.
“Sadly, one of our residents with vaping-related lung injury has died,” DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell said in the statement. “Our prayers go out to the family. We are working with the CDC along with health departments across the country to find out what the specific causes of these injuries are to educate the public by providing the information needed to mitigate the risk of illness and death.”
The patient’s specific age and other identifying information are prohibited from disclosure, an agency spokesman said. The patient’s location is also being withheld because it has no impact on public health, he said.
There are a total of 25 cases of vaping-related illnesses that have been reported to the Department of Public Health, and a patient in one of the cases is currently hospitalized. The DPH said 13 of the 25 are between the ages of 18 and 34 years old.
“I am asking Connecticut residents to not use e-cigarette or vaping products,” Coleman-Mitchell said. “If you choose to continue vaping, you should not buy vaping products off the street or from another person, including a friend, or modify or add any other unregulated substances to these products.”
The Connecticut resident who died is apparently at least the 19th person in the country to die of a vaping-related illness.
The CDC is reporting 1,080 cases associated with e-cigarette or vaping use. An update Thursday said most of the patients who have had reported vaping-related illnesses “report a history of using THC-containing products. The latest national and regional findings suggest products containing THC play a role in the outbreak.”
About 80% of the patients are younger than 35, the CDC said.
The state said cases here have involved symptoms including “shortness of breath, fever, cough, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other symptoms reported by some patients included headache, weight loss, and chest pain.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he is holding a roundtable discussion on vaping on Friday morning at A.I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford.
“The vaping epidemic has now hit home — tragically. This epidemic now exploding in force has turned deadly here. Every day teens are starting lifetimes of addiction and disease, thinking vaping is harmless. As I have warned repeatedly over years, e-cigarettes deliver powerfully addictive nicotine, dangerous chemicals, and unknown poisons. The FDA must act before there are more deaths and more lives put in peril. It should ban flavors immediately, and take other necessary long overdue steps,” Blumenthal said in a statement.