Two deaths associated with the nation’s outbreak of vaping-related illnesses have been announced in New Jersey and in Virginia on Tuesday, bringing the total death toll to 16.
One victim was an adult female from northern New Jersey while the other victim was an adult from the southwest region of Virginia. Virginia state officials did not release additional information about the victim who died in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Sept. 26.
“I am deeply saddened to announce the first death of a Virginia resident related to this outbreak. Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver.
The New Jersey Department of Health announced the death Tuesday associated with this outbreak. “This death underscores the potential dangers associated with vaping,” Judith Persichilli, who chairs Gov. Phil Murphy’s Electronic Smoking Device Task Force, said.
As of Sept. 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 805 cases of vaping-related lung illness from 46 states and one U.S. territory. The age range of all cases and reports under investigation is between 15 and 51 years of age.
NBC News has confirmed 16 vaping-related deaths in 13 different states. The cause of the outbreak is unknown.
The latest deaths come just one day after Nebraska reported its first vaping-related death.
The Virginia Department of Health recommends that people who are concerned about lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use or vaping refrain from using e-cigarette products.
The Texas A&M University System took a stand in addressing the issue Tuesday by instituting a broad ban on vaping.
“This health threat is serious enough that I want to see the ban include every building, outside space, parking lot, garage and laboratory within the Texas A&M System. The ban also should extend to every facility of our $950 million research enterprise and all System properties in the 250 Texas counties in which the Texas A&M System has a presence, ” Chancellor John Sharp wrote in a memo.
All 11 universities within Texas A&M are to ban the use of e-cigarettes and vaping “as soon as possible.”
E-cigarettes come in flavors such as cotton candy and bubble gum, which have been seen as directly targeting young people. Juul and other highly addictive e-cigarettes are extremely popular among high schoolers and middle schoolers. The number of kids vaping nicotine has doubled in the past two years, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In Michigan, vape shops are expected to destroy all flavored e-cigarette products in order to comply with a new law that goes into effect Wednesday banning the sale of these products. Any sellers who violate this law could face fines or possibly serve six months in jail.