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Ontario County woman dies from vaping lung injuries

New England Journal of Medicine

An Ontario County woman has died in Monroe County from injuries related to vaping.

The state health department said the woman was in her 50s, but other details are still under investigation or are not available to the public due to patient privacy concerns.

The department said investigators do not yet know exactly what the woman was vaping.

The woman was being treated at the University of Rochester Medical Center's Strong Memorial Hospital when she died. URMC cares for most of the vaping injury patients in western New York.

More than 200 cases have been reported to the state health department, though the number is likely an undercount as the state has no mandatory reporting requirements for vaping injuries.

This is the first confirmed vaping-related death outside of New York City, and the first of a person older than their 30s. It brings New York state’s vaping death toll to four.

Ontario County public health director Mary Beer said these deaths are particularly tragic because they’re preventable.

She said her department is doing outreach at schools to try to deter youths from vaping, but they have a harder time addressing adults who have already started and are addicted to the products.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that the state has not changed its overall message on vaping: “If you don't know what you're smoking, don't smoke it.”

Brett was the health reporter and a producer at WXXI News. He has a master’s degree from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
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