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4th Massachusetts Resident Dies Of Vaping-Related Illness

Massachusetts has now reported 36 confirmed cases of vape-related illness

A fourth Massachusetts resident has died from a vaping-related lung illness, state public health officials announced Wednesday.

The patient, a man in his 70s from Middlesex County, reported vaping products containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, according to a statement from the state Public Health Department.

“Today’s news is a tragic reminder that we must remain vigilant about the dangers of vaping,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel.

Massachusetts has now reported 36 confirmed cases and 73 probable cases of vaping-associated lung illnesses to the federal Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. Of those 109 cases, 55 are men and 54 are women. A little more than half are under age 30.

The agency said 35% vaped only nicotine, 40% vaped only THC, and 27% reported vaping both.

Massachusetts in November became the first state in the country to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, e-cigarettes and e-liquids.

Cannabis retailers are allowed to sell unflavored marijuana products only after they have passed tests for the presence of impermissible levels of toxins or contaminants, including vitamin E acetate and heavy metals. The CDC has identified vitamin E as a culprit in vaping-associated lung injuries.

The announcement came a day after a Massachusetts judge granted a motion from the state attorney general’s office to bar five online e-cigarette retailers from selling their products to state residents while a lawsuit against the companies is pending.

Attorney General Maura Healey last month sued eight online retailers of e-cigarettes she alleges violated the state’s ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products and failed to protect against delivery of the products to minors.

Healey’s office is still in the process of serving the other three companies.

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