2nd vaping-related death in Mass. confirmed, DPH says

BOSTON — A second death from vaping-related illness has been confirmed in Massachusetts, according to the Department of Public Health.

Mass. DPH announced Wednesday morning that a second person had died of an illness related to vaping. Officials say the person is a woman in her 40s from Middlesex County. Health officials say the woman vaped nicotine.

Earlier this month, a woman in her 60s from Hampshire County died of a vaping-related illness after reportedly vaping nicotine.

The news comes amid a desperate court battle over Gov. Charlie Baker's blanket ban on vaping products in the Commonwealth.

Last week, a Superior Court judge ruled that the state's ban was not properly issued and Governor Charlie Baker has decided to pursue an emergency regulatory proceeding that will allow his ban to remain in place for the time being.

[Vape ban stands, but judge outlines conditions]

Businesses that rely on vaping products say they have taken a huge hit and Massachusetts residents say they have no other option but to go to a different state, try to find their products online or use illegal products.

>> MORE: Latest vaping news in Mass. and across the country

In response to a vaping crisis, doctors at UMass Memorial have formed a vaping task force. Leading the way is Dr. Craig Lilly who has personally treated three patients with vaping-related health issues.

"People developed cough, we've had two people that have presented with chest pain... shortness of breath and that we are really concerned about…and some people are just overall fatigued – we do an X-ray and when it's abnormal we are very concerned they may have vaping related disease," said Lilly.

That can lead to extra testing and additional time in the hospital, but every doctor across the state who sees a vaping-related illness is required to report it to the Department of Public Health. Vital information and one of the reasons Baker believes the ban was the right decision.

"The national data continues to indicate that there are really limited answers to the answers to what's causing the deaths that have been associated with this," said Baker.

Baker's ban remains in place. On Wednesday, a judge denied a motion, but there is an important deadline coming up Thursday. A judge has asked all motions and arguments to be turned in at 4 p.m.

Additional resources: Vaping Public Health Emergency: Documents for Providers