One woman in New Jersey has died as a result of the ongoing outbreak of vape-related deaths and injuries across the country. It is the first vape-related death reported in the state.
New Jersey health officials were notified of the woman’s death in August. The state’s Electronic Smoking Device Task Force, launched by Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in response to the outbreak of illnesses, investigated the death.
“The New Jersey Department of Health is saddened to announce a death associated with this outbreak. This death underscores the potential dangers associated with vaping,” Judith Persichilli, acting commissioner of the state Department of Health, said in a statement.
So far, New Jersey’s Electronic Smoking Device Task Force has identified 12 confirmed cases and two probable cases of serious lung disease associated with vape products. The task force is investigating 32 other possible cases.
As of Sept. 24, the outbreak included 805 reported lung injury cases across 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC has also confirmed 12 deaths in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri and Oregon.
The CDC’s latest findings suggest that THC may play a role in the outbreak and officials suspect that chemical exposure may be causing the lung injuries. However, federal health officials still have not identified a specific chemical to blame for the outbreak.
Juul Labs, a company that produces vaping products, has remained at the forefront of the outbreak because of the increasing popularity of its e-cigarettes, especially with minors.
Last week, Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns stepped down from the company amid growing concern over e-cigarettes’ possible health risks. The company also suspended broadcast, print and digital advertising.
President Donald Trump has asked the Food and Drug Administration to consider banning all flavored vape products, and Juul Labs agreed not to fight the proposed ban.