New York state has banned the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes.

The first vaping-related death has been reported in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday. 

A Bronx teen died after being hospitalized for a vaping-associated respiratory illness. The 17-year-old male was initially hospitalized for a vaping-related illness in early September, according to the state Department of Health. After being released from the hospital, he was re-admitted in late September and died Oct. 4. 

As of Tuesday, New York doctors have reported 110 cases of severe pulmonary illness due to vaping. Nationwide, there have been 18 deaths from vaping-related illnesses and more than 1,000 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

With the revelation that a New Yorker has died of a vaping-related illness, Cuomo hopes people will take the issue seriously. 

"Parents have to know, young people have to know: You are playing with your life when you play with this stuff," he said. "And it's not just best-case scenario for vaping. You get addicted to nicotine. And that is a lifelong struggle. I can tell you as a person who was young and stupid and smoked, it is an addiction you will fight for your entire life." 

In September, Cuomo announced that the state Department of Health would act to ban flavored e-cigarette products in New York. The Public Health and Planning Council within the department voted on an emergency regulation to prohibit the sale of the vaping products. 

The ban is facing a legal challenge. The vaping industry filed a lawsuit and an appeals court temporarily blocked the ban from taking effect. 

Cuomo thinks the federal government should address the rising number of vaping-related illnesses. 

"The president had talked about taking action," he said. "I don't know how many people have to die before he takes action, but the state is already taking aggressive action." 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.