Michigan health officials confirm state’s 3rd death from vaping-related lung injury

The dangers of vaping

Michigan health officials have announced the third death associated with the outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries in the state.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said it was notified about a man’s death on Dec. 19 and confirmed it was due to the vaping-related lung injury. They are not releasing any other information about him at this time.

“The tragic death of yet another Michigan resident is a reminder that this outbreak continues,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family. I urge people not to use THC-containing e-cigarettes or vaping products until the specific cause of these vaping-related severe lung injuries being reported nationwide has been identified. To help with this investigation, we remind health care providers to report patients who may have this condition to their local health department.”

The MDHHS reported the state’s first vaping-related lung injury death in October and its second in November. In all three cases, the victims have been men.

Since August 2019, 65 confirmed and probable vaping-related lung injury cases have been reported in Michigan, including this death. 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 is 15-67.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that as of Jan. 7, 2,602 cases have been identified in 50 states, the District of Columbia and two territories. This includes 57 deaths in 27 states; this count does not include this third Michigan death.

Related: Vaping-related lung transplant performed at Detroit hospital

Flavored vaping ban debate

Meanwhile, in December, the Michigan Supreme Court said it would not take an expedited appeal from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a dispute over flavored e-cigarettes. The court said any appeal should follow a traditional course to the Court of Appeals.

A Court of Claims judge in October blocked Whitmer’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes, saying health officials can’t justify short cuts to adopt the new regulations.

The judge also expressed concern about the impact on adults who might be vaping to avoid regular cigarettes. Whitmer said the ban was necessary to keep flavored e-cigarettes away from teens.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that it will prohibit fruit, candy, mint and dessert flavors from small, cartridge-based e-cigarettes favored by high school and middle school students. But menthol and tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes will be allowed to remain on the market.

Study finds e-cigarettes significantly raise risk of chronic lung disease

A study last year found vaping, or using e-cigarettes, significantly raises the risk of chronic lung disease. That is according to the first long-term study on the health effects of vaping.

Researchers tracked more than 32,000 Americans over a three year period. They found e-cigarette users increased their risk of asthma and emphysema by one-third regardless of other tobacco use. The highest risk of lung disease was among people who smoked tobacco and vaped.

What is the lung injury?

Patients report respiratory issues with some being put on oxygen support, as well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss. Most of the patients are in their late teens and 20s with no underlying health issues. The only thing patients have in common is vaping.

Again, health officials are urging people to avoid buying vaping products on the street.