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Marijuana vaping-linked lung injury claims life of fourth Michigan resident 

click to enlarge Counterfeit cannabis vaping products. - NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
  • New York State Department of Health
  • Counterfeit cannabis vaping products.

The outbreak of a marijuana vaping-linked lung injury has claimed the life of a fourth Michigan resident.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) reported in a press release that it was notified Wednesday of the death of a woman, whose identity and age are not being disclosed.

"Although reports of new cases related to this outbreak have decreased in Michigan and across the country, new cases continue to be reported," Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS, said in the press release. "We urge Michigan residents to refrain from vaping until a definite source or sources have been identified. Health care providers should remain vigilant in educating their patients about the potential risks associated with vaping and report any cases to their local health department."

Michigan has identified at least 72 confirmed or probable cases of vaping-related lung injuries since August 2019. The patients range in age from 15 to 67. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 2,700 cases in 50 states.

U.S. health officials believe the cause is vitamin E acetate, a chemical goo used to “cut” or dilute marijuana vaping cartridges to maximize profits.

The state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) banned the sale of vitamin E acetate at legal dispensaries on Nov. 22. Since then, the MRA has recalled vaping cartridges sold at at least seven dispensaries across the state.

Despite the obvious link to marijuana, state health officials continue to conflate tainted cannabis cartridges with nicotine vaping products, causing confusion about the source of the outbreak. Two-thirds of U.S. residents still falsely believe nicotine vaping is the cause.

In October, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer banned flavored nicotine in Michigan, but the prohibition is on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by vaping retailers who say the governor overstepped her authority.

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