Mich. Health and Human Services looking into e-cigarette, vaping illnesses

Evan James Carter
The Detroit News

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing multiple cases of e-cigarette and vaping related respiratory illnesses.

The state health department said Wednesday that it is investigating six cases of respiratory illnesses, all of which have been diagnosed in the last 60 days. The department has not found an infectious cause of the illnesses.

Those affected live in the Lower Peninsula and were between the ages of 19 and 39, the health department said. Most of the cases have resulted in the person being hospitalized for severe respiratory illness.

“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming, and we want Michiganders to be aware using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” said Sarah Lyon-Callo, MDHHS state epidemiologist. “E-cigarettes/vaping products can contain harmful chemicals that can result in damage to a user’s lungs, heart or other body systems.”

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 10, 2018 photo, a high school principal displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students at the school in Massachusetts. On Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, the Vapor Technology Association filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government to delay a review of electronic cigarettes.

The state's investigation has not identified a specific brand of device or e-liquid that is causing the illnesses.

As of Aug. 23, 203 possible cases of severe respiratory disease associated with e-cigarette use have been reported in 23 states, the health department said. The department said it's working closely with state and federal partners during the investigation of the national outbreak.

The health department also advised physicians caring for patients with pulmonary illnesses that have a history of e-cigarette or vaping use to immediately report the cases to their local health department.