International Cannabis Business Conference

48 Vape-Related Deaths Now Reported in the U.S.

AP Photo

People keep dying from vape-associated pulmonary illnesses (VAPI). Here's a list of the 48 reported U.S. deaths in 25 states and Washington, DC, plus two in Europe. Note that the information available is limited, The deceased have not been identifed and specific causes and locations are unclear.

As many as 2,291 cases have been reported nationwide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 76% of the individuals saying they vaped THC products. The good news is reports of illnesses and deaths have declined over the last month,.

Causes range from additives like vitamin E acetate to cyanide to toxic poisoning.

The CDC recommends that people "should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC," adding: "To date, national and state data suggest that products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g., friends, family members or illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak."

The good news is deaths have declined significantly since the first was reported in August. There were 14 reported in September, 23 in October, nine in November and so far none in December.

1. Illinois

On August 22, an adult was declared dead from a severe respiratory illness. The case is related to e-cig usage"This is the first death of an individual in Illinois who has been hospitalized for severe respiratory illness with reported vaping-e-cigarette use," Illinois Department of Health information officer Melaney Arnold stated. A particular product was not identifiied.

2. Oregon

On September 5, Oregon public health officials reported that a middle-aged resident who had used a legal cannabis vape product purchased at a licensed store had died from respiratory illness. They declined to name the product or say where it was sold.

3. Minnesota

On September 6, the Minnesota Department of Health reported that in August a resident who was over 65 died from a "lung injury (that) was associated with vaping illicit THC products... after a long and complicated hospitalization."

4. California

On September 6, it was reported that an adult over 55 with chronic health conditions who'd "vaped a product containing THC" had died. Los Angeles County's health officer Mintu Davis stated: “What liquid was used, what substances were used, what devices were used, it’s all under investigation."

5. Indiana

On September 6, the Indiana Department of Health reported that a resident had died from a "mysterious respiratory illness linked to e-cigarette use." Deputy health commissioner Pamela Pontones stated: "Nothing is known for certain about what is causing these injuries."

6. Kansas

On September 10, it was reported that a female resident over 50 had died two weeks after vaping. The person had "underlying health issues," according to the state's epidemiologist Farrah Ahmed. The secretary of Kansas' Department of Health and Environment, Lee Norman, said the deceased was stable until “the only thing that changed was starting to vape, which was new to this person.”

7. California (2)

On September 17, the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency reported that a 40-year-old resident had "died from complications related to the use of e-cigarettes." County public health officer Karen Haught said it was "related to severe pulmonary injury associated with vaping." According to the agency, "Symptoms of vape-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI) can include shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, nausea, fever, vomiting or diarrhea."

However, accorrding to Leafly, "One Tulare County, CA victim’s family member mentioned a 'black and gold' cart labeled 'Lucky Charms.' (Matching that description is both counterfeit packaging and authentic packaging for a popular, illicit market brand in California called West Coast Cure.)"

8. Missouri 

On September 19, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reported that a man in his mid-40s had died in Mercy Hospital in St. Louis due to acute respiratory distress syndromeDHSS director Dr. Randall Williams said the illness was "associated with vaping," but wasn't clear if it was e-cig or cannabis oil related. “This is an unfortunate case of a young man with no prior lung illness who started vaping because of chronic pain issues,” Mercy Hospital's Dr. Michael Plisco added. “He started out with shortness of breath and it rapidly progressed and deteriorated. Once the lungs are injured by vaping, we don’t know how quickly it worsens and if it depends on other risk factors.”

9. Kansas (2)

On September 24, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly reported that a second vape-related death had occurred in the state. "The second death is a male over the age of 50 who also had underlying health conditions," the press release states. It refers to e-cigarette use and not cannabis.

10. Georgia

On September 25, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported that a patient had died from a "vape-associated illness," adding that "the patient had a history of heavy nicotine vaping, but no reported history of vaping THC."

11. Florida

On September 25, the Florida Department of Health reported a death due to "lung injury associated with e-cigarette use or vaping." No other information was provided.

12. Mississippi

On September 26, the Mississippi Department of Health reported that a resident under 30 had suffered a "vaping-associated death." No other information was provided.

13. Oregon (2)

On September 26, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported that a second person in the state had suffered a "vape-related death." They said the victim had purchased the cannabis product or products at a licensed retailer. "People should stop vaping immediately," health officer Dean Sidelinger stated. "If you vape, whether it's cannabis, nicotine or other products, please quit."

14. North Carolina/Virginia

On September 26, Mose Cone Hospital in Greensboro, NC reported that a southwest Virginia resident suffered a "vape-related death." Dr. Murali Ramaswamy, director of the Interstitial Lung Disease Program for LeBauer Health Care at Cone Health, stated: "This is really because the lungs are severely inflamed. We call this Acute Lung Injury or ARDS, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, that’s really how they die from it."

15. Nebraska

On September 30, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported that a resident over 65 in Douglas County died from "severe lung disease associated with e-cigarettes or vaping" in May.

16. New Jersey

On October 1, the New Jersey Department of Health reported a death "associated with the national vaping outbreak." An adult female died in August. She's among 32 cases being investigated. "To date, there have been no reports of serious lung illness associated with products sold in dispensaries permitted by the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program," the press release stated. 

17. Alabama

On October 2, the Alabama Department of Health reported a "death tied to vaping." It's unclear whether use of a cannabis or nictoine product caused the East Alabama man to die.

18. Connecticut

On October 3, the Connecticut Department of Public Health reported that last week a person between the ages 30 to 39 died from a "mysterious lung disease linked to vaping." Gov. Ned Lamont stated: "I cannot stress enough – the best thing for people to do is just avoid e-cigarettes and vaping products altogether.”

19. Delaware

On October 3, Delaware's Division of Public Health reported that a person "died from complications relating to vaping within the past few months." Director Karyl Rattay stated: "We continue to recommend that individuals consider refraining from vaping or using e-cigarette products. At this time, no vaping is safe.”

20. Michigan

On October 4, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that a man had died from a "vaping-related lung injury" on October 2. Thirty similar cases of "severe respiratory illness" have been reported in Michigan since August. The state's chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun stated: "We urge people to consider refraining from vaping until the specific cause of the vaping-related severe lung injuries being reported nationwide has been identified."

21. Pennsylvania

On October 4, the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed "one death and multiple cases attributed to lung injuries associated with vaping." Twelve cases of lung injury have been reported. Indicating that the cause of death may be related to marijuana use, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine stated: "Vaping medical marijuana products sold in our dispensaries carries risk in the same way that other medications do. If you are vaping, whether as part of the medical marijuana program or not, it is essential that you have an honest conversation with your physician about the potential risk for serious illness. For those who are part of the medical marijuana program and have concerns, we encourage you to talk to your physician or the pharmacist at the dispensary to determine if a transition to another medication will continue to meet their needs."

22. Massachusetts

On October 7, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that a woman a "woman in her 60s from Hampshire County" died from a "vape-associated lung injury." The Boston Globe says she vaped nicotine. Of the state's 19 reported cases, "five reported vaping only cannabis oils, four reported vaping both marijuana and nicotine products, and one reported vaping only nicotine." Massachusetts instituted the nation's first and only state ban on the sales of all vape products on September 24.

23. California (3)

On October 7, the Kings County Department of Public Health reported that "an individual from Kings County has died from complications related to the use of e-cigarettes." Kings County Public Health Officer Dr. Milton Teske described it as a "severe pulmonary injury associated with vaping." It's the third vape-related death in California since September 6.

24. New York

On October 8, it was reported that a 17-year-old male from the Bronx died from a "vape-related illness." Admitted to Montifiore Hospital several times in September, he passed on October 4. He's the youngest victim since vape deaths started being reported in late August.

25. Georgia (2)

On October 8, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported the second death in the state due to a "vaping-associated illness." The department noted that the victim "had a history of nicotine vaping, but the case is still being reviewed to determine if other substances also may have been used."

26. Texas

On October 9, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported an older adult woman living in North Texas died from a "vaping-associated lung illness."

27. Utah

On October 9, the Utah Department of Health reported the death of a Salt Lake County resident under the age of 30 from a "vaping-related lung injury." The victim had "vaped THC prior to (his or her) death." According to the Salt Lake Tribune, "The toxicology screen confirmed the use of THC and vape cartridges containing THC were found at the person’s home." The person was not hospitalized and died at home.

Health Department epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn stated: “This death is a sad reminder of the severity of these unexplained illnesses. 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.”

28-29. Indiana (3)

On October 10, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) acknowleged that two more residents had died of lung illnesses related to vaping, upping the state's total to three. The state has 30 confirmed cases of vaping-related lung injuries. According the the ISDH website: "Most individuals have reported vaping THC, the ingredient in marijuana, or other substances, but it’s unknown what specific products, brand or substance is causing these injuries. More information is being learned as new cases are investigated and data analyzed."

30-31. Minnesota (3)

On October 16, the Minnesota Department of Health reported that two more residents "have died due to complications from severe lung injuries associated with vaping." The first was reported on September 6. The two latest victims were both over 50 and passed away in September. According to the press release, "Investigators determined the first patient vaped a number of products including illegal THC. The second patient had severe underlying conditions and is believed to have vaped unknown products in addition to nicotine."

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm urged people "to avoid vaping anything containing illegal cannabis products, as almost all of those Minnesotans who developed severe lung injuries had a history of frequent vaping of illegal cannabis," adding: "People vaping medicine from Minnesota’s medical cannabis program should talk with their health care provider about whether another delivery method may be right for them."

32. Montana

On October 16, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services reported that "an individual in their late teens with a history of vaping" had died from "vaping-associated pulmonary illness." State Medical Officer Dr. Greg Holzman stated: "During this time, we highly recommend that people refrain from any vaping products.”

33-34. Tennessee (2)

On October 17, the Tennessee Department of Health reported that "a patient with serious respiratory disease associated with use of electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices" had died. He was a 26-year-old adult male who lived in Nashville. On October 24, they said a second resident had died from vaping. With 53 cases reported in Tennessee, the department stated: "In many but not all cases, patients have acknowledged recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC-containing e-cigarette products."

35. Illinois (2)

On October 24, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported that a second resident died of a "severe lung injury" due to vaping. A total of 153 Illinois residents have suffered similar injuries.

In a press release the IDPH stated: "More than 80% of the cases in Illinois report recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products, primarily obtaining them from informal sources such as friends or on the street. Additionally, almost half have also used nicotine-based products. IDPH has submitted 54 products and devices to the FDA for testing since August and has received preliminary results for 17 samples. Initial results from the FDA for Illinois are similar to information previously reported nationwide. Of the samples submitted, vitamin E acetate was found in two of the samples with THC. The FDA continues to perform additional testing."

36. Washington, DC

On October 24, the District of Columbia Department of Health reported that a resident had died of an e-cigarette or vaping product associated lung injury (EVALI). 

37. Georgia (3)

On October 29, the Georgia Department of Health reported that a third state resident had died from a "vaping-associated illness." According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the death "involved a person with a history of vaping nicotine for a few years."

38. Massachusetts (2)

On October 30, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that a second state resident had died of a "vaping-associated lung injury." The victim is a woman in her 40s who lived in Middlesex County "who vaped nicotine." Gov. Charlie Baker banned  the sales of all vape products on September 24.

39. Illinois (3)

On October 31, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that a third state resident had died of a "severe lung injury" due to vaping. “IDPH is urging Illinoisans not to vape or use e-cigarettes products, especially illicit THC based products, while we continue to investigate this outbreak," the department's director Dr. Ngozi Ezike stated.

40. Massachusetts (3)

On November 6, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that a third state resident had died of a "vaping-associated lung injury." The victim was a man in his 50s from Worcester County who "reported vaping both nicotine and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)." Since September, the state has had "220 reports from clinicians of suspected vaping-associated lung injuries."

41. California (4)

On November 13, the California Department of Health reported that a fourth state resident had suffered a death "related to vaping." The victim lived in Marin County. "It is tragic that yet another person has died from this cause in California and people continue to fall ill," State Public Health Officer and Director of CDPH Dr. Sonia Angell stated. "We are working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CDC, other state health departments, and local health departments across California, investigating every case and testing products, and we'll continue until this vaping associated outbreak is over. Until that time, we urge everyone to stop vaping, especially products from informal sources."

42. Illinois (4)

On November 14, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported that a fourth state resident had died of a "lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products." A total of 179 people in Illinois have been afflicted. "We strongly urge people not to use e-cigarette or vaping products that contain THC, especially those obtained through informal sources like off the street or online dealers," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike stated.

43. Indiana (4)

On November 14, the Indiana State Department of Health reported that a fourth state resdient had died of "vaping-related lung injury."

44. Missouri (2)

On November 14, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported that a second state resident had died from "use of e-cigarettes or vaping products." The victim, a woman in her mid-50s, had a "long-standing underlying chronic lung condition."

45. Louisiana 

On November 18, the Louisiana Department of Health reported a resident had died of a "vaping-associated lung injury, or (EVALI)." Thirty cases have been reported in Louisiana. "We urge people to recognize the dangers of vaping and to stop vaping until more is known about the specific causes of lung injuries that have been occurring in people who use vaping products,” assistant secretary of the Office of Public Health Dr. Alex Billioux stated.

46. New York (2)

On November 20, the New York Department of Health reported that a second state resident had died from a "vaping-associated illness." The victim was a man in his 30s who lived in Manhattan who had a "history of using e-cigarettes and vape products."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated: "We are taking every step possible to combat this crisis on the state level, but the federal government needs to take action now. President Trump has already backed down from his vow to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes - despite widespread evidence that these flavors are used to target our teens and young adults - and put the interests of the vaping industry over the lives of Americans. This is Big Tobacco all over again. Make no mistake: this is a public health crisis and until our 'leaders' in Washington do something to stop it, more lives will be lost."

47. Illinois (5)

On November 21, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that a fifth state resident had died of a "lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products (EVALI)." The IDPH pointed to illicit THC products as the primary cause of the 187 cases in the state: "More than 80% of the cases in Illinois report recent use of THC-containing products, primarily obtaining them from informal sources. Among those who use e-cigarette products, the highest risk for EVALI appears to be among those who use THC containing products obtained from informal sources, including products labeled as Dank Vapes."

48. Michigan (2)

On November 27, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that a second state resident had died of a "vaping-related lung injury." The adult male passed away two days earlier.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS, stated: "We are urging people to refrain from vaping until the specific cause of the vaping-related severe lung injuries being reported nationwide has been identified."

European Vape-Related Deaths

On September 29, it was reported that 57-year-old factory worker Terry Miller from Gateshead had died in Great Britain after "oil in his lungs from vaping fluid triggered lipoid pneumonia." His wife Glynis says he was a regular user of e-cigs.

On November 14, it was reported that Belgian teenager Raphaël Pauwaert died on November 6 "less than a month after getting pneumonia, which doctors attributed to vaping." The 18-year-old victim from Brussels allegedly "used a legal liquid filling containing CBD."

This article was originally posted on September 17. It has been updated numerous times.

comments powered by Disqus
Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.