Sixth person dies from vaping-related illness

Kansas officials on Tuesday confirmed the first death in the state linked to an outbreak of lung illness associated with using e-cigarettes, marking at least the sixth reported death across the country.

Health officials in Kansas said the individual, a 50-year-old patient, “had a history of underlying health issues and was hospitalized with symptoms that progressed rapidly.”

Kansas officials said they do not have detailed information on the types of vaping products that were used by the patient.

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However, in a majority of the cases to date, patients reported using e-cigarette products containing elements of marijuana, including THC. The national investigation has also not identified one specific e-cigarette product.

Still, federal and state health officials are advising people to stop using any vaping products, whether it’s nicotine or marijuana. 

“It is time to stop vaping,” said Lee Norman, Kansas secretary of health and environment.

“If you or a loved one is vaping, please stop. The recent deaths across our country, combined with hundreds of reported lung injury cases continue to intensify. I’m extremely alarmed for the health and safety of Kansans who are using vaping products and urge them to stop until we can determine the cause of vaping related lung injuries and death,” Norman said.

More than 450 people have fallen ill across 33 states, and officials are focusing on possible contaminants and counterfeit products. 

New York health officials said they’re focusing their investigation on vitamin E acetate after they found high levels of it in nearly all of the cannabis-containing vapes tested. 

Health officials are also warning consumers against buying vapes on the black market or modifying products themselves.