A person in Mississippi has died of a severe lung illness linked to vaping, bringing the U.S. death total to 12.
Mississippi health officials said the person, who is the first in the state to die from the vaping-related illness, was under 30 years old.
“Any death related to vaping is one too many, and this is entirely preventable,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said in a statement on Thursday morning. “We grieve with the family over this loss, and our hopes are that this helps emphasize how serious the dangers of vaping can be.”
Just one day earlier, health officials in Florida and Georgia both reported the first deaths in their states from the vaping-related illness.
The previous nine deaths occurred in Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, California, Illinois and Oregon
The Centers for Disease Control is currently investigating 530 reported cases of severe lung illness related to vaping as of Thursday. The agency said that it still does not know what in e-cigarettes is causing the health problems, but that the cases have occurred in people using nicotine-based e-cigarettes and THC e-cigarettes.
Of those 530 cases, the CDC has closely analyzed 373 and determined that that two-thirds of people with severe lung illnesses, or 67 percent are 18 to 34 years old, and 16 percent are under 18. The majority, 72 percent, are male.
The CDC said that stopping teen e-cigarette use is one of their priorities.
“Any tobacco product use, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe, especially for youth,” CDC director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in a statement. “Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain. We must do everything we can to reduce the use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students to protect them from immediate lung injury and a lifetime of nicotine addiction.”
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has announced plans to ban sales of flavored e-cigarettes, and several states have enacted legislation restricting sales. Massachusetts announced Tuesday that it will prohibit sales of all e-cigarettes for four months and will “work with our medical experts to identify what is making people sick and how to better regulate these products to protect the health of our residents,” Governor Charlie Baker said.
Massachusetts’ ban is the most restrictive, though New York and Michigan said earlier this month that they will stop sales of flavored e-cigarettes. The city of San Francisco also said in June that they will ban all e-cigarette sales.