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FDA Takes Heat as Vaping-Tied Death Toll Rises

11 people nationwide are said to have died from vaping-related illnesses so far
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2019 7:20 AM CDT
In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, a man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette in Portland, Maine.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

(Newser) – The health departments of two new states put up sobering notices this week. Both Florida and Georgia announced their first vaping-related fatalities, bringing the recorded national death toll to 11, CNN reports. There's scant info on the Florida death, but the death in Georgia—a state that so far claims nine cases of vaping-associated illness, including this fatality—says the deceased patient had a history of "heavy nicotine vaping" (none noted for THC). Fox News reports the patient was a 35-year-old male. The Georgia DOH goes on to note that those nine patients were mostly male, range in age from 18 to 68, and were all hospitalized and eventually got pneumonia "with no known infectious cause."

Other states reporting deaths tied to vaping include California, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oregon. Some 530 lung injury cases said to be linked to vaping have been documented, per the CDC, which will have updated stats available Thursday. On Wednesday, members of Congress grilled the acting commissioner of the FDA, looking for answers on why it opted in 2017 to push the deadline for starting its review of the vaping industry to 2022. "I firmly believe that many aspects of the youth vaping epidemic could have been addressed if the FDA had moved forward with reviewing all e-cigarettes on the market when it first had the chance two years ago," Frank Pallone Jr., head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said at the hearing, per CNBC. (Rhode Island joins Michigan and New York in this vape-related ban.)

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