A 17-year-old male from the Bronx died this week after contracting an illness believed to be related to vaping, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
The teen died at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, Cuomo said, and state health officials are investigating details of the case.
It is New York‘s first vaping-related death since a rash of lung illnesses connected to vaping swept the nation in recent months, Cuomo said. It also appears to be the youngest of 19 people killed by the rapidly growing outbreak, according to federal data.
The Bronx teen was previously hospitalized in early September with a vaping-associated respiratory illness, according to the state Department of Health. He was re-admitted in late September and passed away on Oct. 4.
But the city said it was too soon to know the cause of the teenager’s death.
“The city is investigating the case in question but no official determination has been made at this time,” said Avery Cohen, a City Hall spokesperson.
According to the Cuomo administration, the New York City Bureau of Tobacco Policy Programs notified the state Department of Health earlier Tuesday that the Bronx man’s death was vaping related, citing a notification from the city Medical Examiner’s Office.
The health department then notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is now finalizing a formal report, according to the state.
As of Oct. 8, the state health department had received 110 reports from New York doctors of severe pulmonary illness among patients ranging from 14 to 69 years of age who were using at least one vape product prior to becoming ill.
The outbreak began with 11 cases in early August.
The number of vaping-related lung injury cases nationally has jumped to 1,080, but the specific causes of the illnesses are still not clear, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week. New York‘s fatality brings the death toll to 19.
Nearly four in five people who suffered vaping-related lung injury reported using products that contained THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, alone or combined with nicotine, CDC said previously.
The lawsuit seeks to overturn the ban, which Cuomo said was necessary to prevent flavored e-cigs from addicting more young people. He has also accused vaping companies of intentionally marketing flavored e-cigarettes to youths.
“Best case scenario for nicotine, you get addicted to nicotine. And that is a lifelong struggle,” Cuomo said Tuesday.
“The federal government should act. The president talked about taking action. I don’t know how many people have to die before he takes action,” Cuomo said Tuesday.