BOSTON (WPRI) — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Monday that a woman in her 60s from Hampshire County has died from a “vaping-associated lung injury.”
It was the state’s first vaping-related death reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to health officials.
Officials said the woman—who has not been identified—was among the 121 suspected cases of vaping-related lung injury reported since Sept. 11, of which nine have been confirmed and 10 are listed as “probable.”
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued a four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products last month in response to the rise in reports of illnesses and deaths associated with their use. According to the CDC, more than 1,000 lung injury cases have been reported from 48 states and one U.S. territory and 18 deaths have been confirmed as of Oct. 1.
“The number of confirmed and probable cases of vaping-associated lung injury we’re seeing continues to escalate and today I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of a patient who had this illness,” state Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, said. “We are investigating these cases as quickly as possible and working with our federal partners to better understand this outbreak.”
Massachusetts officials also issued a statewide standing order for nicotine replacement products such as patches and gum to be a covered benefit through health insurance without requiring a prescription.
Those who want to quit vaping or smoking are encouraged to call the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW to learn about treatment options.