The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Monday that it has reported five new cases of vaping-related lung injury to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bringing the statewide total to 10.
Five of the cases have been confirmed, and five are considered probable for meeting the CDC's definition of vaping-associated pulmonary injury. To date, 83 suspected vaping-related cases have been reported to the Department of Public Health since Sept. 11.
State health officials said half of the 10 patients are under the age of 20 and seven are female. Eight of them have been hospitalized.
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Vaping tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an ingredient found in marijuana, was reported in half of the 10 cases, health officials said. Vaping THC and nicotine were reported in four cases and one person reported vaping nicotine only.
With the number of suspect cases rising statewide and nationally, Gov. Charlie Baker last week announced a public health emergency and a four-month statewide ban on sales of all vaping products in Massachusetts. The sales ban applies to all vaping devices and products, including those containing nicotine or cannabis.
"While no one has pinpointed the exact cause of this outbreak of illness, we do know that vaping and e-cigarettes are the common thread and are making people sick," Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said. "The information we’re gathering about cases in Massachusetts will further our understanding of vaping-associated lung injury, as well as assist our federal partners."
Three vape shops – Mass Dynamics, Boston Vapor and Vick's Vape Shop – filed a lawsuit Monday against Baker and Bharel in a bid to overturn the ban. The owner of Vapor Zone, a chain of North Shore vape stores, filed a similar suit last week.
The Massachusetts cases are among hundreds of cases the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are currently investigating as part of a multi-state outbreak of lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes or vaping products.
As of last week, 805 confirmed and probable cases had been reported, including 12 deaths. More than two-thirds of those patients are male, and their median age is 23 years. No single product has been linked to all cases of lung injury.