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NJ Dept of Health Announces the First NJ Death from a Vaping-Related Illness

Tuesday, October 1st, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) announced that an adult female from northern New Jersey is the first person in the state to die of a vaping-related illness amid a nationwide outbreak of such cases. The death was reported to the NJDOH in August and mentioned as a report under investigation by Department of Health Acting Commissioner Judith Persichilli at the time Governor Phil Murphy announced the creation of the Electronic Smoking Device Task Force on September 12, 2019. The identity of the woman, described by health officials as “beyond college age,” was not released and they declined to be more specific for privacy reasons.

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 today. NJDOH categorizes cases based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) case definitions. In addition, 32 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 the cases involve males.

To date, there have been no reports of serious lung illness associated with products sold in dispensaries permitted by the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program.

With a vaping-related death also reported October 1st in Virginia, the nationwide total is 16. Fourteen other deaths have been identified nationwide as part of the multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with vaping: two in California, two in Kansas, two in Oregon, and one each in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Nebraska.

As of September 27th the CDC reported the following from their investigation:

• There are 805 lung injury cases reported from 46 states and 1 U.S. territory.

• CDC has received sex and age data on 771 patients.

• About 69% of patients are male.

• Nearly two thirds (62%) of patients are 18 to 34 years old; with 22% of patients between 18-21.

• 16% of patients are under 18 years.

• All reported patients have a history of e-cigarette product use or vaping.

E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs. The liquid can contain: nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) oils, and other substances and additives. THC is the psychoactive mind-altering compound of marijuana that produces the “high”.

• The latest findings from the investigation into lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, suggest products containing THC play a role in the outbreak.

• CDC has received data on substances used in e-cigarettes or vaping products in the 30 days prior to symptom onset among 514 patients.

• About 77% reported using THC-containing products; 36% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products.

• About 57% reported using nicotine-containing products; 16% reported exclusive use of nicotine-containing products.

State health departments, the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (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.

For more information about the dangers of vaping, please visit or

Information for this release was secured from the websites of the New Jersey Department of Health, CDC, and The Star Ledger.

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