DHHS announces vaping test results from lung-injury patients

    While the exact cause of vaping-related lung injuries is still unknown, preliminary test results collected from Michigan patients by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are starting to look into possible answers.

    The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Friday that it had received test results from the FDA analyzing e-cigarette and vaping products used by five lung-injury patients in Michigan. The products were all tested for nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and vitamin E acetate.

    The results show the first confirmation that a Michigan lung injury patient was exposed to vitamin E acetate, a chemical that is often used to dilute the THC oil ingested through vaping products and has been linked to health concerns.

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    Nicotine was found in three of the five patients’ vaping products, and was the only substance detected in two patients’ vaping products.

    THC was found in three of the five patients’ products, and was the only substance detected in one patient’s vaping products.

    One lung injury patient had vaping products containing both nicotine and THC.

    One patient’s products contained both THC and vitamin E acetate. One of those products reportedly contained 23% vitamin E acetate.

    As of Friday, there have been 44 confirmed and probable vaping-related lung injury cases and one vaping-related death in Michigan. In its statement on Friday, the DHHS reported that 81% of these patients reported using a product containing THC.

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    The DHHS had declared a public health emergency in September in response to youth vaping trends, which led to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordering a statewide ban on flavored nicotine vaping products. A judge of the Court of Claims blocked the emergency rules earlier this month. Whitmer filed with the state Supreme Court last week to reinstate the ban.

    Laina G. Stebbins
    Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, immigration and criminal justice. She is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or listening to podcasts, she loves art and design, discovering new music, being out in nature and spending time with her two cats Rainn and Remy.