Virginia sees first vaping-related death as national toll rises to 16

Virginia health officials this week announced the first vaping-linked death in the state, bringing the U.S. death toll to 16.

Officials with the Virginia Department of Health announced Tuesday the death of an adult from the “southwest region.” No other details were provided.

“I am deeply saddened to announce the first death of a Virginia resident related to this outbreak. Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, in a statement.

NEBRASKA SEES 1ST VAPING-LINKED DEATH

There have been at least 16 vaping-linked deaths reported in the U.S. since the illnesses were first reported. Federal health officials are still investigating what’s behind the more than 800 cases reported across 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, described a possible link between the current outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries and the use of THC-containing vaping products.

The CDC’s findings indicated that out of 514 patients with suspected vaping-related illnesses, 77 reported they had been using products containing THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — or using both nicotine and THC-containing products.

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That said, federal health officials have not yet linked the illnesses to a specific product, substance or additive.

In the meantime, health officials across the country — such as those in California — have issued a strong warning to residents: Stop vaping. In some states, such as New York and Massachusetts, government officials have banned flavored e-cigarettes as a way to dissuade residents, especially teens, from vaping.

The news of the Virginia resident’s death comes after New Jersey, Alabama and Nebraska health officials announced the first deaths linked to vaping in their respective states.