Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the state’s first death from a vaping-related illness on Friday. In a press release, MDHHS said it was notified of the death of an adult male on Wednesday, and declined to release any further information about the victim for confidentiality reasons.
Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health at MDHHS, called on residents to abstain from using e-cigarettes in the midst of the recent spate of vaping-related illness across the state and country.
“We are saddened to announce a death associated with this outbreak,” Joneigh Khaldun said. “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.”
In a tweet, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer echoed Khaldun’s alarm.
“This is heartbreaking news,” Whitmer wrote. “@MichiganHHS is urging people to consider refraining from vaping until the specific cause of the vaping-related severe lung injuries being reported nationwide has been identified.”
Michigan has had 30 “confirmed and probable” cases of vaping-related lung injuries since August. All occurred in the state’s Lower Peninsula, and the people involved ranged in age from 16 to 67 years old. The majority were hospitalized for “severe respiratory illness.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 18 deaths due to lung illnesses connected to vaping products, with 1,080 “confirmed and probable” cases across 48 states and one U.S. territory. That tally does not include the death in Michigan and other deaths reported after Oct. 1.
MDHHS recommends e-cigarette and vaping users seek medical attention immediately if they begin to experience symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, fever, nausea or vomiting.