By Alexandria Hein
Published October 09, 2019
Health officials in Utah announced the state’s first vape-related death on Wednesday, adding that the victim had “vaped THC prior to their death.” The Utah Department of Health said the victim was under age 30, and died at home without being hospitalized prior to death.
“The UDOH Office of the Medical Examiner made the final determination as to the cause of death,” the health department said in the news release. “Public health officials investigating the death have determined the individual vaped THC prior to their death. In order to protect the identity of the deceased resident, no further information will be released.”
The news comes a day after New York reported its first vape-related death, identifying that victim as a 17-year-old Bronx teen. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the vape illnesses a “public health crisis,” and called on the federal government to act on the more than 1,000 cases reported.
“This death is a sad reminder of the severity of these unexplained illnesses,” Dr. Angela Dunn, UDOH state epidemiologist, said in the news release. “Based on what we know about this outbreak and what may be contributing to it, our best advice to the public is to stop vaping products that contain THC.”
Utah has recorded 76 cases of vape-related lung injuries, with an additional 14 currently under investigation. More than 90 percent of the cases involved hospitalization, with many landing in the intensive care unit, according to the news release. Additionally, 94 percent of patients in Utah reported vaping THC products before falling ill.
The lung injuries have been described by Mayo Clinic as similar to chemical burns obtained from those of mustard gas, a chemical agent used during World War I. In addition to the deaths reported in Massachusetts, New York and Utah, the CDC reported 18 fatalities across 15 states in patients with a history of using e-cigarettes or vaping products.
Fox News' Madeline Farber contributed to this report.