FILE - Vape products, nicotine

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is investigating health risks associated with vaping after six people ranging from ages 19-39 have been hospitalized due to respiratory illnesses in the last two months.

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

The press release said that all six cases have occurred in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

MDHHS spokesperson Lynn Suftin said that severe symptoms developed after variable vaping lengths ranging from a few days to around 90 days.

Suftin said this lung condition can come on “fairly quickly,” and urged people who have a history of vaping and experience symptoms to contact their healthcare provider immediately as well as their local health department so MDHHS officials can document case specifics.

“Once we have information about a case, and then follow up with this individual to determine what device they were using, and when they were using it,” Suftin said. “That helps build our case and track things down.”

Suftin said that some of the cases involved vaping THC as well as nicotine.

“There is regular e-cig or vaping use, however, there is some history in some of the cases of THC use as well, so we do know that is associated with some of the cases here in Michigan, as well as across the country.”

Sharon Hoskins, a public affairs officer for the CDC, said there were 193 potential cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarettes in 22 states as of Aug. 22.

CDC Director Robert Redfield warned in an Aug. 23 press release that e-cigarettes could have harmful effects.

“This tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products. Vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms – including flavorings, nicotine, cannabinoids, and solvents,” Redfield said. “CDC has been warning about the identified and potential dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping since these devices first appeared. E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.”

Suftin said there were 203 possible cases of severe respiratory disease in the United States as of Aug. 23.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.