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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The vaping crisis has claimed its first life in New York.
The Bronx teen was first hospitalized in September and then readmitted days later. He passed away on October 4.
"Parents have to know, young people have to know: You are playing with your life when you play with this stuff," the governor told reporters.
The medical examiner continues to investigate the boy's death, but officials suspect he was using black market e-cigarettes that contained THC, the active ingredient in marijuana – not legal vaping products that contain nicotine and can be sold in stores.
"This vaping is a public health crisis," Cuomo said. "It is affecting our young people."
Law enforcement has been confiscating the illegal cartridges, which the e-cigarette industry points to as the cause of so many illnesses. States and the federal government have also moved to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes that are believed to be attractive to teens.
So far, two dozen vaping-related deaths have been reported in 20 states, including New Jersey and Connecticut. Add to that almost 1,100 people with vaping-related illnesses, according to CBS News.
The Bronx teen is believed to be the youngest victim to die nationwide.
"Honestly, half of my friends don't even look at the news about it, don't really care," Astoria resident Azaliz Aguirre told CBS2.
"I actually heard someone go, 'don't do that bro, it's bad for you,' and that was outside of a school setting. That really shows that people are absorbing this mindset," another teen added.
Meanwhile, proposed e-cigarette bans are facing court battles as the industry argues legal products help people quit smoking.
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