A Connecticut resident has died from lung illness related to vaping, state officials announced Thursday. It’s the first fatality of its kind in the state and among a growing number of people who are dying in a nationwide outbreak of cases.
The patient was between 30 and 39 years old and died last week while being hospitalized for multiple medical conditions, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
“Our prayers go out to the family,” DPH Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell said in a statement. “We are working with the CDC along with health departments across the country to find out what the specific causes of these injuries are to educate the public by providing the information needed to mitigate the risk of illness and death.”
There are now about 1,080 confirmed and probable cases of lung illness associated with vaping or e-cigarette use across 48 states and one U.S. territory, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.
Patients include both minors and adults.
In Connecticut the 25 recorded cases are from Fairfield (11), New Haven (8), New London (2), Hartford (1), Litchfield (1), Tolland (1), and Windham (1) counties, DPH stated.
The CDC has confirmed 18 deaths in the United States — that number does not yet count the recent death in Connecticut.
Federal and state agencies are working together to investigate potential causes of the illnesses. Officials have collected information on vaping products and substances from 578 patients across the country—about 78% reported using products containing THC, according to the CDC.
But 17% reported using only products containing nicotine. Investigators have yet to identify any one product or substance that is common across all cases.
“I cannot stress enough that people should just avoid these products completely, and most especially avoid products that were purchased off the street or have been modified in any way,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “Very little is known in the medical community at this time about the long-term effects of vaping.”
Patients have experienced symptoms including shortness of breath, fever, cough, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as headache, weight loss and chest pain. DPH officials said health providers should be on the look-out for these symptoms in their patients.
As of last week, suspected cases of vaping-related lung illnesses in Connecticut must now be reported to the state.