A fifth Illinois resident has died from vaping amid a surge in e-cigarette and vaping illnesses.
The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed the death on Thursday, noting that the person had been hospitalized for several weeks prior to the death.
“Although this resident who recently died had been hospitalized for several weeks, we continue to see new cases reported with recent onset of lung injury,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “I cannot stress enough the severity of these illnesses and the need for people not to use e-cigarette or vaping products that contain THC while this investigation is ongoing, especially those obtained through illicit or unregulated sources.”
The fatality comes less than three months since Illinois logged the first vaping death in the country on Aug. 23.
So far, 187 people in Illinois have been hospitalized with a lung injury tied to the use of e-cigarette or vaping products, the health department said. IDPH is investigating another 40 possible cases in the state.
The Centers for Disease Control published a study on Nov. 8 that suggests the vaping additive vitamin E acetate may be behind the lung infections.
But the CDC said it can’t yet rule out other chemicals as culprit.
More than 80% of the people sickened by vaping in Illinois reported recent use of vaping with THC, the health department said.
Across the U.S., there were 42 deaths from vaping as of Nov. 13, according to the CDC. There have also been more than 2,172 confirmed and probable lung injuries due to vaping.