This story was updated at 10:57 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019 with more information.
Health officials in Georgia say they have confirmed the state's second death linked to vaping.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said in a news release Wednesday the person died after being hospitalized for lung injury and had a history of nicotine vaping. No other details were given.
There have been 14 cases of lung illnesses linked to vaping in Georgia, including the two deaths. Another 20 possible cases are under review. In Tennessee, vaping has been blamed for at least 40 lung injury cases; no deaths have been reported.
Nationwide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating reports of more than 1,000 illnesses linked to vaping, including at least 18 deaths.
Gov. Brian Kemp joined Georgia health officials in urging people to stop using e-cigarettes and other vaping devices while the outbreak is being investigated.
Last week, two Georgia lawmakers said they will introduce a bill aimed at cracking down on vaping, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While no details of the plan have been released, state Reps. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert, and Bonnie Rich, R-Suwanee, say it's a public health crisis.
Earlier this week in Tennessee, more than a dozen associations petitioned the Governor to implement "an emergency temporary measure to restrict Tennessee youth from obtaining vaping products," and encouraged the Tennessee General Assembly to "take more permanent legislative action when it convenes in 2020," according to a news release from the Tennessee Medical Association, which initiated and coordinated the letter.
The Children's Hospital at Erlanger has treated one patient who was admitted to the emergency department because they were unable to breathe from acute respiratory failure due to e-cigarette use. That patient improved after steroid treatment, but as with many of those sickened, the cause was a combination of nicotine and THC e-cigarette use, Dr. Matthew Kreth told the Times Free Press last week.
In an effort to address e-cigarette use among teens, the hospital is starting a new youth cessation clinic. So far, they have already seen a few patients, according to Kreth.
E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs. That liquid can contain nicotine, cannabinoid (CBD) oils, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the mind-altering compound in marijuana that produces a "high" — and other substances or additives.
All reported cases of the recent lung illness are in patients with a history of vaping, and most but not all related lung injuries have been linked to marijuana products. However, the specific chemical causing the illness remains a mystery as do the long-term effects.
As the number of illnesses grows across the country, some companies are taking steps to remove gaping products from their shelves.
On Monday, supermarket chain Kroger and drugstore chain Walgreens announced they would discontinue sales of e-cigarettes at their stores nationwide, citing an uncertain regulatory environment.
Walmart also announced last month that it would stop selling e-cigarettes at its stores nationwide, according to the Associated Press.
Kroger said it would stop selling e-cigarettes as soon at its current inventory runs out at its more than 2,700 stores and 1,500 fuel centers. The Cincinnati-based company operates Ralphs, Harris Teeter and other stores.