Massachusetts health officials have reported 17 new cases of vaping-related illnesses to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding to the 29 cases in the state that have already been reported.
About two thirds of the patients report vaping THC, the psychoactive compound of marijuana. Nineteen say they vaped THC exclusively, and 12 say they vaped both THC and nicotine, health officials said Wednesday. Another 11 patients say they vaped nicotine only, fewer than five patients reported vaping CBD, and for a handful of patients, the substance vaped is unknown.
Of the 46 cases, 16 have been confirmed and 30 are still being considered probable. The ages of the people affected continue to be widespread, with 21 cases under the age of 30, 14 cases between the ages of 30 and 49, and 11 cases affecting people ages 50 and older.
The cases in Massachusetts are among nearly 1,500 vaping-related illnesses that have been reported nationwide, the CDC said last week. At least 33 people have died nationwide, including one Massachusetts woman in her 60s from Hampshire County.
Health officials from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reiterated Wednesday that the “only way to assure that people are not at risk while the investigation continues is to refrain from using all e-cigarette and vaping products.”
The sale of vaping products — both nicotine and marijuana — is currently banned in Massachusetts, a restriction Governor Charlie Baker put in place at the end of September.
The four-month ban has been widely contested. Amid multiple pending lawsuits, Baker was warned by a state judge this week that the sale of nicotine vapes will be reinstated on Monday if he does not take the proper steps to keep the ban in place.
The state is also launching an online dashboard to track the vaping-related illnesses in Massachusetts. The dashboard is expected to be updated every Wednesday.
Felicia Gans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.