PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania health officials confirm one person has died in the state related to vaping. The state says there are nine confirmed and 12 probable cases of vaping-related lung illnesses and are investigating 63 additional cases.
Now the Health Department is putting out a serious warning for e-cigarette users.READ MORE: Former Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane Sent To Treatment For Alcohol Use After Probation Violation
“What we are seeing is truly a public health emergency,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.
Levine is strongly urging caution and stern warnings about vaping.
“This health issue really has affected the entire country and here in Pennsylvania, we have seen a large number of cases reported to the department,” Levine said.
Cases of vaping-associated lung disease are on the rise in the state with no clear understanding as to why.
“We do not really know what is causing these serious and even life threatening and even fatal lung injury cases,” Levine said. “Pennsylvania has reported nine confirmed cases of vaping-associated lung cases and 12 probable cases.”READ MORE: Images Show Intense Flames During Barge Fire On Delaware Bay
The Commonwealth also reported its first vaping-related death in the last day. The average age of those falling ill are people in their low-to-mid 20s.
State health officials also say illegal purchased products appear to be a key factor as well.
“I strongly urge anyone who is vaping illegally bought products, in particular illegally bought products with THC to stop,” Levine said.
There are a number of ongoing investigations into lung illnesses reportedly caused by vaping with the state now looking into as many as 63 cases.
“Children, teen, young adults, pregnant women and those who do not already vape, don’t vape,” Levine said.
Levine says the department fully supports efforts to raise the minimum age of tobacco use to 21.MORE NEWS: PennDOT, Local Authorities Announce Extra Enforcement To Be Conducted Over Memorial Day Weekend
They’re also working in conjunction with Gov. Tom Wolf to allow the state to declare a public health emergency.