MIDTOWN MANHATTAN — The packaging looks like candy, with names such as Sour Patch, Frooty and PB and Jam. But no matter how appealing to lure young people, the Centers for Disease Control — and now New York State — are urging everyone to stop vaping until they figure out why some people are coming down with serious breathing issues.
“People should not be using vaping products period,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference at the Labor Day Parade. “Which is what the CDC is saying. There is an investigation ongoing."
In New York State alone, they were 34 cases of severe unexplained respiratory illnesses, many involving vitamin E acetate.
Across the country, officials have identified 380 possible cases in 33 states, including as many as five deaths.
No single vaping devices, liquid or ingredient has been tied to all the illnesses.
But many of those hospitalized had been vaping THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its high.
And vaping is particularly attractive to those too young to legally buy cigarettes.
“40 percent of high school seniors say they vape, so parents should be aware,” Brad Hutton, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Health told PIX11 News in a Skype interview.
Outside a Midtown bar and smoke shop, many said they'd never vaped, but others said they’ll keep on doing it.
“It’s terrifying because we never really knew what was was in there, those e-cigarettes,” said Daria Popov, a former smoke and not a vaper.
But Andy Adams, a confirmed vaper from Philadelphia, said “people should be allowed to make an informed decision, this is America.”
Editor's Note: Health officials on Sept. 12 said that 380 confirmed cases and probable cases have been reported in 36 states and one U.S. territory. That marks a decrease from the 450 initially cited when officials were also including "possible" cases. This post has been edited to reflect the updated number.