NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday health investigators are working to learn more about what his office is calling New York’s first reported death linked to vaping-related illness.
The deceased is a 17-year-old male from the Bronx.
“Parents have to know, young people have to know, you are playing with your life when you play with this stuff,” Cuomo said.
CBS2’s Tony Aiello has learned the teen was hospitalized in early September with a vaping-associated respiratory illness. He was readmitted in late September and then died on Oct. 4.
According to CBS News, this is the 23rd death reported in 20 states linked to vaping. Last week, both New Jersey and Connecticut reported deaths related to the outbreak. In addition, federal officials report almost 1,100 illnesses and lung injuries linked to vaping products.
There have been more than 100 reports of vaping-related pulmonary illnesses in New York. The patients range in age from 14-69.
“This vaping is a public health crisis. It is affecting our young people,” Cuomo said.
Watch: What You Need To Know About Vaping-Related Illnesses:
CBS2 has learned officials will investigate whether the 17-year-old was sickened by Vitamin E acetate while vaping an illegal cartridge with THC, the key ingredient that causes a marijuana high.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that has been a common denominator in many cases.
Will the death of a young person drive home the dangers to young New Yorkers?
“If a 17-year-old actually died from vaping I feel like some people will take that into consideration and actually do something about it,” Nashary Luleg of Belmont said.
“In my age range, teenagers, they really don’t care, because they’re living in the now,” added Stefan Taveras of Melrose.
Vaping is the most popular way to ingest THC in New York state’s medical marijuana program, which does not allow smoking marijuana flower.
The state Department of Health told Aiello, “There have been no adverse events related to vaping associated with an approved NYS medical marijuana program product. We are also urging patients in the [program] to consult with their health care providers.”
A vaping industry group points out millions of people have safely used legal vaping products such as Juul, and that the crisis is linked to black market cartridges that contain THC.
The CDC says such products should be avoided, and is telling people who vape “you should consider refraining from vaping” while it investigates the spate of illnesses and deaths.