NJ Has More than 30 Reported Cases of Illness Linked to Vaping
Nearly three dozen cases of vaping-related lung issues have been reported in New Jersey, as calls have grown louder for the companies behind such products to take more accountability for sales to young users.
There were nine confirmed cases of vaping-associated illness and 24 reports under investigation in New Jersey as of Sept. 17, according to state health officials.
The same updated data showed the patients range in age from 15 to 51-years-old, and 26 cases involve males, while seven cases involve females.
To date, there have been no cases of vaping-related lung issues associated with products sold in state medical marijuana dispensaries, according to the Department of Health website, which also urged vape users to "not buy products off the street or add substances not intended by the manufacturer."
State health officials also said no single product has been implicated, as "patients have reported high variability in substances/products they used in vaping," including but not limited to either tobacco and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) containing products.
The Sept. 17 data is part of 380 confirmed and probable cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarettes or vape products in 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as reported by the CDC.
On Wednesday, state Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Glocuester, met with officials from three companies and urged them to take immediate action to reduce the use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices by young people.
Sweeney met with officials from Juul, Altria and Reynolds in Trenton.
“I remain committed to a full ban on e-cigarettes and other vaping products, but there is an urgency to this crisis and a need for an immediate response,” Sweeney said in a written statement.
He also said that "we cannot wait for legislative action. I demanded that the companies be part of the solution, today, not three months from now, not three weeks from now, but immediately.”
It's the latest action by state lawmakers to stem the rise of vape-related illnesses as well as the popularity of such products among teenagers.
On Monday, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., unveiled a five-point vaping action plan to address what he called an "increasing crisis."
Nationally, youth vaping spiked in 2018, with more than 1 in 5 high school students and about 1 in 20 middle school students reporting e-cigarette use, according to CDC and FDA data.
Last week, the state Division of Consumer Affairs announced it's seeking information from 15 e-cigarette businesses about marketing and sales of vaping products in New Jersey, while Gov. Phil Murphy announced a state task force to investigate the dangers posed by vaping.
A day earlier, President Donald Trump said he'd pursue a ban on many flavors used in vape products, particularly those that appear to be marketed toward youth.
There also is a growing number of lawsuits filed by New Jersey teens, who claim they now are addicted to nicotine after being unaware that the substance was within vape products they had been using for the past few years.