6th person dies from vaping-related lung disease

A sixth person in the United States has died from lung disease related to vaping, Kansas health officials said. The death marks the first in the state, but raises even more concern about the safety and regulation of e-cigarettes.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke out today about Michigan’s ban on flavored vaping products and the White House's decision to follow suit on a federal level.

The CDC reported more than 380 cases of vaping-linked lung illness cases are being seen across 36 states including Michigan.

We spoke to a local doctor who supports the ban on vaping products and a Mid-Michigan business owner against it.

"What it will do is it will drive people back to smoking that now vape flavors," said Ann Switala.

Switala owns Smokin' Vapor in Bay City. Her business doesn't sell to teenagers. That age group is the focal point of a ban put in place by Governor Whitmer on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. 

Switala said this is a dangerous move that will affect many of her older customers who have stopped smoking traditional cigarettes.

"The flavor ban will affect 81 percent of adult vapers that vape fruits and sweets so they don't smoke," she said.

Doctor Gary Johnson is the medical director for the Genesee County Health Department. He tells us vaping can have serious consequences to your health.

"There's documented, objective evidence, reports, and deaths."

That's why he thinks this ban aimed at keeping flavored e-cigs out of the hands of young people is a good thing.

In the meantime, he's sent out a letter to area physicians and hospitals to be on the lookout for vaping associated illness.

"Patients may be coming to their office who are experiencing vaping associated pulmonary respiratory illness, coughing, chest pain, GI upsets and they need to report it."

For her part Switala isn't sold on the so-called dangers of e-cigarettes. Telling us they're ninety-five percent safer than traditional cigarettes.

She tells us if Whitmer’s ban stays in place businesses like hers would close and countless people who have kicked the habit of using burning cigarettes may be forced to go back to their old ways.

Switala is hoping those in power will come up with a solution that protects teenagers and the people she serves.

"We need a dialog for sensible regulation to get this in a good path for the safety of the customers."

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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