Michigan Health Department Reports State’s First Vaping-Related Death

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on Friday announced the state’s first fatality associated with vaping-related lung illness.

MDHHS was notified of the death of the victim, an adult male, on October 2 and is not releasing any further information about them for confidentiality reasons.

“We are saddened to announce a death associated with this outbreak,” said MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “To protect public health, we urge people to consider refraining from vaping until the specific cause of the vaping-related severe lung injuries being reported nationwide has been identified. To help with this investigation, we are reminding health care providers to report patients that may have this condition to their local health department.”

There have been 30 confirmed and probable cases of vaping-related lung injuries in Michigan since August, with all of them being reported in the state’s Lower Peninsula.

The ages of those affected range from 16 to 67.

As of October 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had reported 1,080 cases of vaping-related illness in 48 states and one territory, including 18 deaths from 15 states.

The CDC reports that around 75 percent of the cases involved cannabis vapes in combination with nicotine or alone.

MDHHS is working with the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration to gather additional information that can be used to help identify which ingredients in vaping products are sickening people.

As of yet, there has been no specific device or e-liquid brand identified as the culprit, though testing has revealed the presence of vitamin E acetate and hydrogen cyanide in some products.

On Friday, MDHHS also released a statement clarifying emergency rules that prohibit giving, selling, or distributing flavored nicotine vapor products in Michigan.

Michigan became the first state to announce a ban on flavored vaping products in September.

The rules do not prohibit the possession of vaping products, nor do they bar people from returning products to a wholesaler or manufacturer or from taking products outside the state.

Dr. Khaldun says that implementing the rules is a huge step in protecting youths from possible dangerous effects of vaping.

According to Dr. Khaldun, many youths in Michigan have become addicted to nicotine because vaping companies market appealing flavors such as candy, apple juice, and cappuccino, and that prohibiting the sale of vaping products will help protect kids and overall public health.