The use of e-cigarette products has increased significantly over the last few years, with most people under the assumption that they are safer than traditional cigarettes. However, that myth was busted recently. As many thousands of people have become sick after using vape products, both the public and the government have begun to more closely examine the e-cigarette industry.
How are these products affecting people?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a website that gives a continual update of how many people have been diagnosed with lung disease or killed due to vape-related products.
As the CDC has worked to determine the root cause of lung disease affecting people around the country, doctors have reported a range of symptoms. This includes:
- Heart attack
- Brain hemorrhage
Additionally, some of the substances found in e-cigarette vape have been linked to an increased risk of cancer for users. Nicotine has been found to slow mental development in young users. Doctors have also warned that using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could harm a developing fetus.
One teen underwent a double lung transplant
Recently, a teenager underwent a double lung transplant at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital. This was the first double lung transplant on a patient with a vape-related illness.
“Our teenage patient would have faced certain death if it weren’t for the lung transplant,” said Hassan Nemeh, MD, a thoracic surgery specialist at the hospital. They say that the teenager was admitted to the hospital in early September for what they thought was pneumonia. However, as the teen’s conditioned worsened, he was diagnosed with e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI). He was put on life support but continued to deteriorate.
Doctors said that the teen’s lungs were so scarred and enflamed that they had trouble getting them out of his chest. The illness that this teen has and many other e-cigarette users have initially causes pneumonia-like symptoms. This includes shortness of breath, coughing, fever, and diarrhea. They say that there can also be a build-up of fluid known as “wet lung,” causing complete lung failure.
Should people be vaping?
The debate rages on in the public square over whether vaping should be illegal. Many say it is a safer alternative and that they have a choice to use the products or not. However, doctors say that there is so much that we do not understand about these products. E-cigarette products are not yet approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. These companies do not have to submit their products for approval until mid-2020. The only restriction placed on vape-related products is that they cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18.
The CDC recommends that nobody should begin vaping if they have not been regular users of traditional tobacco products. The former CEO of Juul Labs, the most popular maker of e-cigarettes, has even said that people should not use the products if they have never smoked before.
Harvard University health experts recommend that people should think twice before vaping. They say that state and federal authorities recommend avoiding vaping until more is known about their health risks. There is simply too much risk involved with using these products, and consumers need to protect themselves.