In wake of first vape related death, shop owner warns of ‘black market’ following statewide ban

Posted at 11:08 PM, Oct 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-04 23:08:53-04

A Michigan man is dead from a vaping related injury, it is the first death of its kind here in Michigan.

The state says he was an adult male but besides that they are not releasing any other information.

His death came on the same day the state started enforcing the ban on flavored vaping products and those in the vaping industry think that ban will only make things worse.

"Since August of this year we’ve had 30 confirmed or probable vaping related injury cases reported in the state, these have been all reported in the lower peninsula and most of these individuals have been hospitalized with severe respiratory illness," Department of Health and Human Services Spokesperson Lynn Sutfin said.

This year, the growing public health issue has claimed 18 lives nationwide.

"We are urging people to consider refraining from vaping until a specific cause of the vaping related lung injuries has been determined this is something to help protect themselves," Sutfin added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most patients report a history of using THC-containing products.

"According to the CDC, 75% of cases vaped with marijuana products in combination with nicotine or alone and Michigan is right along those lines," Stufin explained.

"Those products have nothing to do with what we make here. We’ve made product here since 2010 so if it was our product causing the issue we would have seen it way before now," Mister-E-Liquid CEO Ron Pease said.

A Grand Rapids based vape company who filed suit against the state to stop the ban on flavored vaping products.

Pease believes injury related  issues will only get worse  now that the ban is in effect and the 'Black' Market' grows.

"There is zero control left, once the genie is out of the bottle you cannot put it back in and I have a great amount concern that’s what’s going to happen here with the ban," Pease explained.

Pease alongside Defend MI Rights Coalition, a group of small business owners involved in the vaping industry are calling on the state to release as much information as possible about the products used by the man who died.

"Now they have other products in play and i can see why they’d say you can’t relate it to one product, one device one brand. But there is something that binds it all together but it's all base material that contains a product that can cause pneumonia," Pease added.

The state’s ban is only on the sale of flavored vaping products, not on the possession or on the wholesale of products out of state.