EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data Thursday on vaping-related lung injuries (EVALI) which included Rhode Island’s first reported death.
R.I. Department of Health spokesperson Joseph Wendelken said the person in their 70s was among five vaping cases in the state. He couldn’t confirm that the person’s death was directly caused by his or her lung injury but said since the CDC included the case in their investigation, it was added to the fatality count.
Wendelken also noted that the person had a history of vaping-associated lung injuries.
Among the five Rhode Island cases, new data from the CDC supports a link between vitamin E acetate and vaping EVALI. CDC updated its guidelines to clinicians, for example recommending hospitalized EVALI patients be clinically stable before discharge.
As of Dec. 17, more than 2,500 hospitalized cases of lung injury nationwide have been linked to vaping, according to the CDC. The cases have been reported in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The CDC says 54 deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and D.C.
Three vaping-related deaths have been confirmed in Massachusetts and one has been confirmed in Connecticut.
In response to the rise in reports of vaping-related injuries, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued a temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products back in September. The ban was rescinded earlier this month in favor of new restrictions.