A vaping-related illness has impacted over 40 states nationwide in 2019, and now CNN reports the death toll has risen to at least 17. In Virginia and New Jersey, health officials confirmed on Tuesday that they had each verified a vaping-related death. Alabama, meanwhile, confirmed another on Wednesday.
"While this current outbreak is being investigated, the safest option is to refrain from using any e-cigarette or vape product," Alabama Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said following news of the state's first death to the illness. The first individual to die from the illness was reported in Illinois in August. Initial reports indicated the lung injuries could be tied to bootleg cartridges and e-liquids, mostly those containing THC, but now doctors across the country have warned against using any vaping products until the situation is fully understood.
"I am deeply saddened to announce the first death of a Virginia resident related to this outbreak," Virginia health commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver said on Tuesday. The three latest deaths have arrived less than a week after the total figure reached 14. There have been two deaths in California, two in Kansas, two in Oregon, and one in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Nebraska.
Last week the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was investigating the 805 or so confirmed cases of the vaping-related illness.