A second Kansas resident has died from a mysterious vaping-related illness that has resulted in hundreds of cases nationwide.
The death – this time involving a man over the age of 50 with underlying health conditions – comes less than two weeks after Kansas announced its first vaping-related fatality, a woman also over 50. The development is likely to intensify attention on vaping and e-cigarette use in the state.
Kansas now has nine confirmed or probable cases of the disease — including the two deaths — Gov. Laura Kelly’s office said. Each case has resulted in hospitalization, with five individuals released and two remaining hospitalized.
The ages of those affected have ranged from 17 to 67.
The individuals afflicted have used a range of vaping products. Some vaped only with nicotine. Others used only THC – the chemical in marijuana that produces a high – or CBD. A combination of THC and nicotine was also used, the governor’s office said.
Across the country, the number of vaping-related illnesses reported has risen to more than 500.
Kelly’s office said the state is “actively reviewing policy options” but didn’t release any plans on Monday.
Lee Norman, the Kansas secretary of health and environment, is scheduled to testify Wednesday before a U.S. House subcommittee on e-cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes are unregulated, which means that we don’t know what’s in them,” Norman said in a statement. “And, of great concern to me, is that in the midst of all these illnesses being reported, the amount of young people using them is significant.”
The death comes amid lawsuits over vaping. A Johnson County man is suing the e-cigarette maker Juul. The Goddard school district also has said it plans to sue e-cigarette makers and distributors.