State Reveals Test Results Of Vaping Products Used By Patients Sickened In Michigan

WWJ News
October 26, 2019 - 3:56 pm
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LANSING (WWJ) - Michigan health officials are alerting e-cigarette users about recent test results on vaping materials collected from residents who have experienced lung injuries. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said patients were asked to provide any materials they used to vape to be sent for testing by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Results received from FDA's preliminary testing of materials used by five lung injury patients in the state found:

  • Two patients’ products contained only nicotine. 
  • One patient’s products contained only tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • One patient’s products contained both THC and nicotine. 
  • One patient’s products contained THC and vitamin E acetate.
  • One product, a Dank Vape Birthday Cake THC cartridge, contained 23 percent vitamin E acetate.  

The FDA lab results are the first confirmation that a Michigan lung injury patient was exposed to vitamin E acetate. 

In addition, two vaping cartridges submitted by a medical marijuana caregiver to a Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency licensed safety compliance facility also contained 40 percent or more of vitamin E acetate.

Although the cause of the lung injuries is not yet known, the majority of lung injury patients report using products with THC. One hypothesis being investigated is that contaminants in THC vapes, including vitamin E acetate, may be related to the outbreak.

Other states are also finding vitamin E acetate in their testing. The New York State Department of Health found high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analyzed as part of its own investigation of lung injury patients. Product sample testing at the Utah Public Health Laboratory showed evidence of vitamin E acetate in 89 percent of THC-containing cartridges provided by six lung injury patients.

"We urge Michiganders not to use e-cigarette or vaping products, particularly those containing THC,"  Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, said in a statement. "This outbreak is still under investigation, and the exact substance or devices that are causing the outbreak are unknown."

As of Oct. 25, Michigan has 44 confirmed and probable lung injury cases, with one death. About 81 percent of these patients reported using a product containing THC. Nationally, there have been 1,604 lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 49 states, the District of Columbia and one U.S. territory as of Oct. 24. There have been 34 deaths.

Health officials are still trying to identify ingredients in the vape materials that are making people sick. So far, no specific brand of device or e-liquid has been identified. Although products with THC, particularly those obtained through informal or illicit sources, appear to play a major role in this outbreak, nicotine products cannot be excluded at this point. 

E-cigarette and 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.

For the latest information about vaping-related lung injury in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/vapelung.