A fourth person has died from a vaping-associated lung injury in Massachusetts, the state Department of Public Health announced Wednesday.
The patient was a man in his 70s from Middlesex County, who reported vaping tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a chemical found in marijuana, the department said in a statement.
The case was one of the 36 confirmed case of vaping-associated lung injury that have been reported by the state to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since September, amid the national outbreak of vaping-related illnesses.
To date, the DPH has received 341 reports of suspected cases in Massachusetts, among which 109 cases of lung injury were identified. Thirty-six confirmed cases and 73 probable cases were reported to the CDC.
“Today’s news is a tragic reminder that we must remain vigilant about the dangers of vaping,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a statement. “There are resources available to help people quit and we encourage anyone to use these resources.”
The death was the first in the commonwealth since November, when DPH announced a male patient in his 50s from Worcester County, who had reportedly been vaping both nicotine and THC, had died.
Just over half of the confirmed or probable cases in Massachusetts have involved patients under the age of 30 — approximately 52 percent, officials said. Of those patients, 35 percent reported vaping only nicotine and 40 percent vaped only THC, while 27 percent said they vaped both nicotine and THC, according to the DPH.