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NY has first vaping-related death; Cuomo says vaping is more dangerous than cigarettes

Syracuse, N.Y. — The first New Yorker has died from a vaping-related illness. A 17-year-old Bronx boy died Friday, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The teen first became ill with a vaping-related lung illness in September. He was hospitalized, but then improved and went home. He came back to the hospital in late September where he stayed until his death, according the state.

Nationwide, there have been 19 deaths reported and more than 1,000 being afflicted with severe vaping-related lung illnesses.

New York has received 110 reports of illnesses.

“And now the tobacco company goes into the vaping business and targets young people and markets to young people with a product that might actually be more dangerous than a cigarette,” Cuomo said. “A cigarette didn’t kill you in year one.”

Cuomo issued an emergency ban on all flavored vaping products that was to begin Oct. 4, the same day the teen died. But the Appellate Division issued an order barring the state from enforcing the order until the state and the vaping industry get a change to argue their case in court Oct. 18.

The spate of illnesses were first reported to health officials in July. Since then, every month brings higher numbers, more deaths, and still not concrete answers about what is causing the illnesses. The state and the Centers for Disease Control found that a high percentage of the victims had used black-market cartridges containing THC prior to becoming ill. But not every patient had.

The illnesses have focused attention on the wider public health issue of teens being addicted to vaping high levels of nicotine. The American Medical Association Monday called for the country to implement regulations on the level of nicotine that can be sold in the U.S., similar to European countries, which do not allow nearly as much nicotine in the products that are sold there. Currently, there are no regulations limiting nicotine.

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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