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Mass. Health Officials Admit Lung Patients May Have Used Illicit Vapes, Too

The admission came late Friday from state officials

State health officials conceded Friday night that six Massachusetts patients suffering from probable cases of vaping-related lung illnesses may have used illicit marijuana vapes in addition to legal ones, a surprising revision from the day before when officials suggested products sold at licensed cannabis retailers were to blame for the ailments.

The admission, along with a Friday agreement by the state Department of Public Health to release detailed information about the cases to the state Cannabis Control Commission, headed off a highly unusual public confrontation between the two Massachusetts agencies.

But the deal prohibits any immediate public release of the data, meaning uncertainty about the real cause of the six cases could linger for weeks or longer. Along with earlier conflicting warnings from health officials, the latest back-and-forth promises to further bewilder consumers about which vaping products are safe and which might make them sick. It also risks undermining confidence in the ability of Massachusetts authorities to manage a fast-evolving public health crisis.

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