(CBS4) – Illinois has reported the first death in the nation linked to vaping, and the severe respiratory illness blamed for that person’s death has now sickened at least one Colorado resident. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the first case was reported on Tuesday and it is looking into another possible case.

(credit: CBS)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating what’s making people sick but at this point the agency says it hasn’t linked a specific vaping product to the illness.

It’s estimated in 2018 there were 3.6 million high school and middle schoolers nationwide using a kind of electronic cigarette. Colorado has a notably high rate of teen vaping, and this week’s news has health experts here concerned.

“Tobacco companies have known for a long time that teens are the customers of the future and that if they can get them hooked on nicotine as teens, they’re much more likely to continue to use these products for decades into the future,” said Thomas Ylioja, the clinical health director for national health initiatives at National Jewish Health.

CBS4’s Jacqueline Quynh interviews Thomas Ylioja. (credit: CBS)

“And in particular with e-cigarettes, the harms that we’re seeing are just coming out now, and we don’t even know what the long term effects might be.”

Health officials in Colorado aren’t saying where the person who got sick lives. They also aren’t revealing any details about that person’s identity.

National Jewish Health operates the Colorado Quitline. If you are interested in getting help quitting, visit coquitline.org.