State reports first death linked to vaping

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    Updated, 6:21 a.m., 10/8/19 with the correct figures for national vaping-related deaths

    Michigan has its first death related to vaping, according to the state. 

    The state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced the death on Friday afternoon in a statement. The department released few details, only saying that it was notified of the death of an adult male on Wednesday and declined to release additional details, citing confidentiality.

    The state says there have have been 30 “confirmed or probable” lung injury cases related to vaping since August, although it’s unclear what specifically the individuals were vaping. 

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    Eighteen states have reported a total of 15 deaths* said to be related to vaping, the state said, citing figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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

    “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,” Khaldun continued. “To help with this investigation, we are reminding health care providers to report patients that may have this condition to their local health department.”

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    DHHS says that 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. The department is currently urging everyone to avoid vaping of any kind and use smoking cessation methods approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    A statewide ban on flavored vaping products signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer using public health emergency powers took effect this week. 

    Whitmer addressed the death in a tweet on Friday, calling it “heartbreaking news.” 

    Correction: The number of states and vaping-related deaths was incorrect but has been updated.

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.

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