New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the death of a 17-year-old Bronx boy due to vaping-related illness on Tuesday. The teenager is the youngest person to die from a vaping-related lung disease, according to The New York Times, and the first in New York, according to state health officials.

The Bronx teen died on Oct. 4, after being hospitalized twice in September for vaping-related illnesses, according to CBS.

“Parents have to know, young people have to know, you are playing with your life when you play with this stuff,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.

Though the median age for vaping-related fatalities is 50, 80% of vaping-related illness patients are younger than 35, and 16% are younger than 18, according to the CDC. The New York State Department of Health has received reports of vaping-related lung illnesses in patients as young as 14.

The vaping industry has come under scrutiny for marketing practices that appear to target minors, particularly its promotion of candy, fruit and snack food flavors that attract teenagers. These concerns led New York to adopt a statewide ban on flavored e-cigarettes, intended to prevent minors from using vapor products, that was scheduled to begin on Oct. 4.

On Oct. 3, vaping groups succeeded in temporarily blocking the ban on the grounds that it would harm retailers and adults attempting to quit smoking tobacco. The case will return to court on Oct. 18.

“It is undeniable that the vaping industry is using flavored e-cigarettes to get young people hooked on potentially dangerous and deadly products,” said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in a statement. “While the court’s ruling temporarily delays our scheduled enforcement of this ban, it will not deter us from using every tool at our disposal to address this crisis.”

As of Oct. 1, there were 1080 reported lung injury cases nationwide associated with e-cigarette use, with eighteen confirmed deaths, according to the CDC. New York has recorded 114 patients with vaping-related illnesses. It is still uncertain what specific chemicals are causing these injuries, and no single substance has been linked to each case.

It is not yet known where the teenager obtained the e-cigarette products, or whether the products contained THC.

WHAT THE LEFT IS SAYING: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.: “One death is one death too many and we should no longer permit harmful products to fall into the hands of our children.”

WHAT THE RIGHT IS SAYING: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker: “Today, I declared a public health emergency in response to confirmed and suspected cases of severe lung disease associated with use of e-cigarettes and marijuana vaping products in the Commonwealth.”

Written ByGrace Symes

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