A second person has died from a vaping-related illness in Massachusetts, state officials said Wednesday.
The person was a woman in her 40s from Middlesex County who vaped nicotine products. She was not identified further.
State health officials announced earlier this month that the first person had died from a vaping illness — a woman in her 60s from Hampshire County. She also vaped nicotine.
“I am deeply saddened to learn about the death of a second patient from this lung injury,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a statement. “While we continue to work with our federal partners to investigate the cause of these vaping-associated lung injuries, we cannot at this time attribute a single substance or product to this outbreak of illness.”
Though both women in Massachusetts are believed to have died from vaping nicotine, vaping deaths nationwide have largely been tied to THC-containing products.
Of the more than 34 people who have died nationally — not counting the latest death in Massachusetts — the US Centers for Disease Control And Prevention has information about the substances vaped for 19 of them. About 84 percent reported using THC-containing products with or without nicotine. About 63 percent said they used THC exclusively.
Nationwide, more than 1,600 people have been diagnosed with vaping-related illnesses, the CDC announced last week. The agency is expected to release its latest numbers Thursday.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has received more than 200 reports of vaping-related illnesses and has reported 61 of those cases to the CDC as of Wednesday. About 51 percent of the cases have been in people under the age of 30.
About 64 percent of patients with vaping-related illnesses in Massachusetts have said they used THC-containing vaporizers with or without nicotine, and 39 percent said they used THC exclusively. About a third of patients said they used nicotine vapes exclusively.
Baker and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders announced the latest death during an interview on WGBH News’ Morning Edition.
“What we’re seeing is an extraordinary rise in vaping-related pulmonary disease in the Commonwealth and across our country,” Sudders said on the show.
Amid the rising number of vaping reports nationwide, Governor Charlie Baker imposed a temporary four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products at the end of September.
The ban has faced several legal battles in court, and a state judge ruled that Baker had not properly filed the ban and would have to take specific actions to keep the ban in place. Baker’s administration ultimately refiled the ban as an emergency regulation this week, and the ban is expected to be in place through January.