MDHHS reports first death in the state from vaping-related lung injury

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 4, 2019           

CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is announcing the first death associating with the outbreak of vaping-related lung injury in the state.  MDHHS was notified about the death of an adult male on Oct. 2.  No other information about the individual will be released due to confidentiality reasons.

We are saddened to announce a death associated with this outbreak,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “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.”

Since August 2019, 30 confirmed and probable vaping-related lung injury cases have been reported in Michigan. All cases have been reported in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and most of the individuals have been hospitalized for severe respiratory illness. The age range of the cases is 16-67.

As of Oct. 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 1,080 cases in 48 states and one territory. This includes 18 deaths from 15 states, but this count does not include the Michigan death and several deaths in other states reported to CDC after Oct. 1. According to the CDC, about 75 percent of the cases vaped with marijuana products in combination with nicotine or alone.

MDHHS is working closely with the CDC and the federal Food and Drug Administration to get additional information that can help identify the ingredients in the vape materials that is making people sick. So far, no specific brand of device or e-liquid has been identified.

E-cigarette and/or vaping users should immediately seek medical attention if they develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, fever and/or nausea and vomiting.

Regardless of the investigation, MDHHS recommends the following:

  • Anyone who uses an e-cigarette or vaping product should not buy these products off the street and should never modify or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • Youth, young adults and pregnant women should not use e-cigarette or vaping products.
  • Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
  • Adults who are vaping should not smoke combustible cigarettes as a replacement for nicotine. E-cigarettes are not FDA approved as a smoking cessation device. Free help is available for individuals who are ready to kick the tobacco habit at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).

Information about the vaping-related lung injury for the public is posted at Michigan.gov/ecigarettes and for providers at Michigan.gov/cdinfo.

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