Seventh Recorded Vaping Related Death


Anya Ciarniello

As of Tuesday, Sept. 17, another patient has died of a vaping-related illness in California. This is at least the seventh recorded death associated with vape products such as JUULs, e-cigarettes, and THC oil vapes. Along with the victim from California, other recent deaths caused by similar pulmonary illnesses have taken victims from Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Oregon.

Due to electronic cigarettes being more convenient as they are more accessible indoors and prevent second-hand smoking, conventional cigarettes are becoming obsolete. E-cigarette companies have branded these products to smokers as a way to recover from nicotine addiction, weaning them off of the black smoke and high levels of nicotine. However, vaping companies have also lured teens from smoking their products with appealing flavors and colorful boxes. Vaping has become a casual addiction for teens and adults alike, as it isn’t taken as seriously as smoking standard tobacco cigarettes. Users believe that they are safe due to the lack of research on the products and its dangers. However, as vaping victims gain more attention, so does the study surrounding the vapes.

Vaping 360 | Flickr
Vaping 360 | Flickr

As the pattern of vape related deaths begin to emerge, more research is being conducted by The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and state health departments to find the definitive cause. While there are clear connections between several victims based on their preferred electronic smoking method, there is no answer yet. Health officials continue to focus on potential connections as the death toll rises. As of Friday, Sept. 13 the New York State Department of Health has confirmed that at least one vaping product contained cannabis and extremely high levels of the chemical vitamin E acetate, which is now a key focus of the state’s investigation into the illnesses.

New York became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes on Tuesday, Sept. 17, directly following the seventh death. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “We don’t really know the health consequences of these devices, making it important to implement the ban as more research surfaces.” Avid electronic smokers, smoke shops, and vape juice sellers argue with Cuomo, saying that nothing that is sold legally could kill someone and therefore they must be black-marketed counterfeits.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

“They don’t understand that if they get rid of legalized, flavored smoking products then consumers will just go looking for unhealthier and illegal versions sold online or from strangers,” says University sophomore, Giavanna Scaringi. “Once they ban the safest options, addicts will be forced to buy them off the street. That’s when the death toll will really start to rise.

Last week President Trump’s administration officials publicly announced that they are moving a national ban on most flavored e-cigarettes, stating, “We can’t allow people to get sick. And we can’t have our youth be so affected.”

Research is just beginning, but the buying and selling of flavored vape products are far from over. Even with state and national bans pending, it is a concern amongst users that these products will continue to be sold illegally and potentially put more lives at risk.

E-cigarette, Juul, Electronic Cigarette, Blu, Njoy

Pixabay/ SarahJohnson1