Updated: January 17, 2020 12:20 PM
Created: January 17, 2020 09:34 AM
ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — Two more people in New York, including an Ontario County woman, have died from vaping-associated illnesses, the Department of Health confirms.
Health officials said a woman in her 50s from Ontario County died due to vaping-associated illnesses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. A woman in her 20s from New York City also died. Health officials have not released their names.
While health officials are continuing to investigate, they have determined both deaths are vaping-related, the governor's office said, bringing the total number of vaping-related deaths in the state to four.
"These deaths are tragic — and they are also preventable," Cuomo said. "We know smoking and nicotine are dangerous, and it's becoming tragically clearer by the day that vaping is too."
New York state health officials issued a ban on most flavored e-cigarettes last fall in response to worries that vaping may cause illnesses and that its use is growing among teenagers who say they're attracted by flavorings.
But the ban's exclusion of menthol and tobacco flavorings drew scrutiny from a state judge in her decision to continue to block it last week. The ban was initially blocked last fall after the vaping industry sued to stop New York from enforcing emergency regulations banning the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes.
A proposed federal ban on menthol cigarettes has stalled. And President Donald Trump's vaping ban excludes menthol flavoring.
The vaping industry praised the judge's decision and said bans don't work.
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