CDC collecting more data on vaping illnesses

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Local doctors are taking new steps to try to get to the root cause of vape-related health issues. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking doctors to collect vape juice and devices from patients for testing.

The new reporting guidelines are now active. It’s another step for doctors. However, the health officials News 8 spoke to say it’s the only way to possibly find a fix for vape-related health issues. 

“In order to determine what could be the underlying cause, which sort of chemicals or sort of vales are associated with this lung injury, the CDC needs to understand which patients are affected and what chemicals they were exposed to,” said Dr. Shelley Schmidt, a lung specialist with Spectrum Health.

Vaping is relatively new. There are many different devices and liquids coming from all over, so it’s hard to know for sure the impact they have on your body. 

“They are basically taking the same methods that are used to collect the lettuce and find out, which is the bad batch with the E. coli in it,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt and other doctors across Michigan are now collecting names, birthdays and addresses along with any smoking systems from patients who vaped in the last 90 days and have abnormal lung inflammation with no other explanation for it.

“It’s a voluntary collection of these devices with the hope that we can determine what injured you or your loved one. We may be able to prevent the rest of the public from suffering that same injury,” Schmidt said.

Doctors will pass the information and vape devices to the local health department. 

The state will then compile the data and pass it along to the CDC, which is the national arm for investigating disease. 

“The CDC wants to understand if there are particular chemicals, a particular flavor or a particular theme as to why they are having these outbreaks,” Schmidt said. 

The data is also being collected from patients who use vaping devices for marijuana. 

Late Thursday afternoon, the Washington Post reported that state and federal health officials found the same chemical in samples of marijuana vape products used by people with lung illnesses. 

That chemical is an oil derived from Vitamin E. It was found in cases across the U.S. where people became sick after vaping.  

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