The Department of Health announced on Tuesday the first New Jersey death associated with the national vaping outbreak.
The death, involving an adult female from northern New Jersey, was reported to the department in August and mentioned as a report under investigation by Department of Health Acting Commissioner Judith Persichilli at the time Gov. Phil Murphy announced the creation of the Electronic Smoking Device Task Force on Sept. 12, 2019.
The total number of confirmed and probable cases of serious lung disease in the state has risen to 14—including two probable cases. One of the probable cases is the death being reported Tuesday. NJDOH categorizes cases based on CDC case definitions.
“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,” said Persichilli, who chairs the Governor’s Electronic Smoking Device Task Force.
To date, according to the DOH, there have been no reports of serious lung illness associated with products sold in dispensaries permitted by the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program.
Thirty-two reports of severe lung illness are currently under investigation. The age range of all cases and reports under investigation is between 15 and 51 years of ages. The majority of cases involve males.
Nationally, there are now more than 800 confirmed and probable cases of severe lung illnesses in 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There have been approximately 13 deaths in 11 states.
State health departments, the CDC and the FDA are still investigating the possible causes of the lung injuries, but based on information at this time, e-cigarettes or vaping products should never be used by youths, young adults, pregnant women, or by adults who do not currently use tobacco products.