As vaping illnesses grow in Mass., majority of cases are still connected to marijuana

The Boston Globe 1 month ago

As Massachusetts health officials continue investigating reports of vaping-related illnesses across the state, the majority of cases remain tied to marijuana vaping use.

Massachusetts officials said Wednesday they have reported 29 cases of vaping-related illnesses to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 20 of the cases have involved patients who vaped THC, the psychoactive compound of marijuana. Thirteen of those 20 patients said they used marijuana vaporizers only. The other seven reported using both marijuana and nicotine vaporizers.

Of the 29 cases, 10 are confirmed, and 19 are probable. The state has received 123 other reports of vaping-related illnesses, 63 of which are under investigation. Sixty have been ruled out.

One person has died in Massachusetts from a vaping-related illness: a woman in her 60s from Hampshire County. When officials announced her death in early October, they said initial reports indicated she had vaped nicotine. Across the country, at least 29 vaping-related deaths have been reported by state health officials, 26 of which have been confirmed by the CDC.

In Massachusetts, the vaping-related illnesses have affected a wide breadth of people of all ages. Of the cases reported to the CDC, nine were under the age of 20, seven between 20 and 29, seven between 30 and 49, and six over the age of 50.

In reaction to the growing number of vaping illnesses, Governor Charlie Baker instituted a four-month ban last month on the sale of all vaping products in Massachusetts.

Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said the state is continuing to work with federal health officials to learn what is causing the illnesses.

“We don’t know what specifically is causing the lung injuries in these cases, but we do know the one thing they have in common is the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping,” she said in a statement.

Felicia Gans can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.

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