Another person has died from a severe respiratory illness linked to vaping, bringing the national death toll to nine.
The patient, a Kansas resident, was a man over age 50 who had underlying health conditions, according to a statement from the Kansas governor’s office announcing the death.
This is the second such death in that state. Other states that have reported vaping-related lung illness deaths are California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and Oregon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 530 cases nationwide, and state health departments are investigating hundreds more.
Patients have experienced coughing, fever, trouble breathing, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea and general fatigue. Some have needed to be hospitalized in intensive care units and placed on ventilators.
The majority of patients are between the ages of 18 and 34, and nearly three-quarters are men, according to the CDC.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said her state is working with investigators elsewhere in the country to compare notes on the illnesses.
“We are coordinating a response to combat this epidemic, so that families can avoid such tragic outcomes,” Gov. Kelly said in a written statement.
Patients have reported vaping a variety of electronic cigarette devices, including those containing THC, CBD, nicotine or a combination of those ingredients.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations previously launched an investigation into the products behind the illnesses, but has come up with no single device or ingredient that links all of the cases.
As the investigation continues, Michigan and New York have passed statewide bans on the fruity and minty e-cigarette flavors that health officials say are attractive to young people.
And the FDA proposed a rule that would permit companies to sell e-cigarettes only after they’ve shown the products would serve the public health. Companies have until May 2020 to submit that evidence to the FDA.
“Until these rules and regulations go into effect, education is our best defense,” Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said in a written statement.
“Talk to your kids. Talk to your grandkids,” he said. “Keep talking about these issues.”