What is EVALI? Signs, Symptoms, and More
Most people know that people all across the United States have become ill after using e-cigarettes or other vaping products. What most people do not know is that there is a name for the lung illness that has plagued this country over the last few months – e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury, or EVALI.
What we know about EVALI
As of this writing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there have been more than 2,990 cases of EVALI in the United States. The CDC confirms that 47 people have died due to this lung disease.
The CDC recently announced that many of the cases of EVALI have been linked to vitamin E acetate. This substance is used as an additive (usually a thickening agent) in THC-containing e-cigarette products.
What are the signs and symptoms of EVALI?
The most common symptoms of EVALI pertain to respiratory problems. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Additional symptoms of EVALI that are not related to the respiratory system include:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
As mentioned above, there have been several thousand people who have presented EVALI symptoms and 47 people have died. The youngest EVALI victim was 17 years of age. Recently, an EVALI teenage victim underwent a double lung transplant. The victim’s doctors said that the patient would have died from EVALI if not for the medical procedure.
As doctors and federal regulators gain and understanding of EVALI and the symptoms, more cases will undoubtedly surface.
What are the other health risks associated with vaping?
As mentioned above, we do not yet know the long-term effects that vaping will have on a person’s body. We do know that the amount of nicotine inside these products is usually much more than what is found in traditional cigarettes. Juul shocked the marketplace when the company introduced e-cigarette and vape products containing 5% nicotine. According to Juul’s website, one cartridge of vape liquid contains as much nicotine as 20 traditional cigarettes.
The health effects of nicotine on a young person’s development are well-documented. Nicotine can hamper a teenager’s brain development. This is particularly worrying because the use of e-cigarette products has skyrocketed among the nation’s youth over the last few years.
The CDC says that the youngest EVALI victim identified as of this writing was 13 years old, the typical age of a seventh or eighth-grader.
What does the CDC recommend?
The CDC has recommended that everyone avoid all TCH-containing e-cigarette products. They should take extra care to avoid any aftermarket products and those filled by friends, family, and online dealers.
Additionally, federal regulators have pointed out that all e-cigarette products, whether they contain vitamin E acetate, can harm a person’s health. While there are no long-term studies on the ill effects of e-cigarettes, many of the chemicals used in these products are also found in traditional cigarettes. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not inspected or approved any e-cigarette or vaping product.
Currently, several states and other municipal governments are looking at banning flavored e-cigarette and vape products. California and other states have filed a lawsuit specifically against Juul, accusing them of marketing their products to young people. Contact an e-cigarette vaping illness attorney to learn more.