By News Staff

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BOSTON, MASS (WLNE) - The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Wednesday that a fourth person has died due to vape relating lung injury. 

According to the DPH, a patient is a man in his 70s from Middlesex County, who was reported vaping tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an ingredient found in marijuana. 

The department says this is the 36th confirmed case of e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) that was reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since September 11, 2019. 

Since Massachusetts began mandating the report, DPH received 341 reports from clinicians of suspected vaping-associated lung injuries, and of those, 109 cases of EVALI have been identified, with 36 confirmed cases and 73 probable cases reported to the CDC. 

The Public Health Commissioner, Monica Bahrel, MD, MPH said, "Today's news is a tragic reminder that we must remain vigilant about the dangers of vaping. There are resources available to help people quit and we encourage anyone to use these resources." 

Back in November, the DPH reported the death of a man in his 50s from Worcester County who reported vaping both nicotine and THC. 

In October, the state reported the vaping-associated lung injury death of a woman in her 40s of Middlesex County, and a  woman in her 60s from Hampshire County, both of whom vaped nicotine., according to the DPH. 

The DPH offers resources to help people quit through the Massachusetts Smoker's Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by visiting the websites makesmokinghistory.org or Mass.gov/QuitVaping to connect to treatment. 

The helpline has doubled the availability of free over-the-counter nicotine replacement products from 4 to 8 weeks, once a person receives counseling over the phone.

The DPH says that Massachusetts commercial health insurance plans, plus the Group Insurance Commission and MassHealth, must cover smoking cessation counseling and FDA-approved products such as gum, lozenges, or patches without cost-sharing as of January 1 of this year. 

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