BOSTON – Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported five additional cases of vaping related pulmonary illnesses, bringing the total number of statewide reported cases to 10.

Of those 10, five have been confirmed and five are considered probable under Center for Disease Control guidelines for lung disease. To date, the CDC has confirmed 530 cases of lung injury across 38 states. Some 51 additional cases of vaping related illnesses have currently been under investigation by the Massachusetts DPH since September 11.

Five of the confirmed and probable cases in Massachusetts are under the age of 20, with three reports being linked to 40-49 year olds and only two being adults between the ages of 20 and 39. Seven of those cases have been female.

THC has been linked to nine out of 10 cases, with four being linked to vaping both THC and nicotine.

“While no one has pinpointed the exact cause of this outbreak of illness, we do know that vaping and e-cigarettes are the common thread and are making people sick,” DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel indicated. “The information we’re gathering about cases in Massachusetts will further our understanding of vaping-associated lung injury, as well as assist our federal partners.”

The report comes directly after Governor Charlie Baker announced a statewide ban on vaping related products expected to last until January 25th of 2020.

Over the weekend, three retailers filed a federal lawsuit against the Commonwealth, Baker and Bharel. The plaintiffs—Behram Agha, Boston Vapor and Linda and Jeffrey Vick—argue the mandate violates a Constitutional clause indicating state actions cannot overrule federal agency guidelines. The Food and Drug Administration is currently responsible for regulating vaping products and e-cigarettes.

“To be closed for four months is a death sentence,” Agha said earlier this week. “There is rent due, electric bills and the mortgage needs to be paid. Unless some cash flow comes in, I don’t think we can survive more than a few days after the first of the month. I think a lot of stores are in the same position.”

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