A Belgian teens death reported Thursday might be the first vaping-related death in Europe.
Raphaël Pauwaert, 18, died on November 6 after developing a lung illness and falling into an artificially induced coma for nearly a month, according to de Standaard and RTL. Pauwaerts doctors point to his e-cig use, or e-cig fillings, as the most likely cause of death.
The U.S. has seen 39 people die and more than 2,000 cases of vaping-related illnesses, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from November 5. The CDC is pointing to vitamin E acetate found in e-cigs, although the actual cause of vaping-related illness is still unknown. The CDC has advised people to stay away from vaping THC, a component in marijuana.
If vaping were the cause, it remains unclear whether this would be the first case in Europe. Data on vaping-related illnesses are not tracked at the EU level. Some Belgian media are reporting this is the first case in Belgium.
Belgiums Federal Public Services hasnt concluded the cause of Pauwaerts death, and is in close contact with Pauwaerts doctors, their spokesperson Jan Eyckmans told POLITICO.
“At this moment there is no clear link established between the young mans death and the vaping,” Eyckmans wrote in an email.