Woman in her 60s first Mass. vaping fatality

Officials say number of lung injury cases continues to grow

A WOMAN IN HER 60s from Hampshire County has died of a vaping-related lung illness, the first such case in Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health announced Monday afternoon. DPH reported the death to the US Centers for Disease Control, but did not publicly identify the woman or say when she died.

“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,” DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel said.

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The department said the woman was among 121 suspected cases physicians have reported to the state since it began mandating that clinicians immediately report any unexplained vaping-associated lung injury to the DPH.

Of those 121 suspected cases reported to DPH, the department said nine have been confirmed as vaping-associated lung injury and another 10 are “probable for meeting the CDC’s definition.” At least 39 of the reports to DPH were for patients who have been ruled out as having vaping-associated lung injury, the department said.

On Sept. 24, Gov. Charlie Baker banned the sale of all vaping products in Massachusetts for four months while federal and state public health officials continue to investigate a spate of lung illnesses connected to vaping nicotine and/or THC derived from marijuana.