Vaping-related illness taking a toll in Massachusetts

As of October 16, 2019, there were 29 reported cases of vaping-related illness in Massachusetts and one reported death. But public health officials haven’t been able to pinpoint the cause of the illnesses.

Across the U.S., at least 33 people have died and nearly 1,500 have become ill from vaping, according to CDC data as of October 17.

In Massachusetts, some of the patients who were sickened used only THC, others used only nicotine, and still others used a mixture, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Part of the problem is that vaping products aren’t regulated, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s David Christiani told Boston’s WBZ-TV. “We have a bit of a Wild West going on there,” said Christiani, Elkan Blout Professor of Environmental Genetics. “The original product and the end product can actually be different because of interventions along the way. That makes it really difficult.”

Given the inconsistencies among the cases, Christiani said he agrees with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to impose a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products. “If even one death is prevented, I think it’s worth it,” he said.

Listen to the WBZ-TV story: Number Of Vaping-Related Lung Injury Cases In Massachusetts Grows