Hundreds more Americans have been reported to have a vaping-related breathing illness, and the death toll has risen to 12, health officials said Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 805 confirmed and probable cases have been reported, up 52% from the 530 reported a week ago. At this point, illnesses have occurred in almost every state.
The confirmed deaths include two in California, two in Kansas, and one each in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri and Oregon. The Mississippi death was announced by officials in that state Thursday.
Over the summer, health officials in a few states began noticing reports of people developing severe breathing illnesses, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. The only common factor in the illnesses was that the patients had all recently vaped.
As a national investigation started and broadened, reports have increased dramatically.
It's not clear how many of the 275 added cases occurred in the last week, and how many are being logged long after they happened. The CDC has not released details on when symptoms began in each case.
The agency’s count includes only illnesses that have met certain criteria. Other illnesses are also being investigated.
The latest death toll came as Gov. Cuomo said he wants to add menthol to the state’s first-in-the-nation ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes as the vaping industry sues to nullify it.
Cuomo said Thursday he’s directing his administration to take steps to include menthol in a ban that currently excludes tobacco and menthol flavors.
The vaping industry's trade group and two New York vaping companies aim to block the ban with a lawsuit filed Tuesday in state court.
Bans in New York, Michigan and Rhode Island come as health officials investigate severe breathing illnesses linked to vaping.
The Vapor Technology Association’s executive director says New York’s ban unfairly targets former smokers who rely on flavors while failing to address marketing to youth.