Severe Lung Illness Linked to Vaping
Initially considered a less dangerous alternative to cigarette smoke or a tool to aid with smoking cessation, the CDC is now officially investigating the link between vaping and “a mysterious lung disease that’s hit almost 100 people this summer,” IFLScience.com reports.
According to a release from the CDC, the organization is providing consultation to the departments of health in Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Indiana, and Minnedsota about “a cluster of pulmonary illnesses linked to e-cigarette product use, or ‘vaping’, primarily among adolescents and young adults.” A total of 94 cases were reported across 14 states with 30 cases occurring in Wisconsin alone.
No deaths have been reported, but some have come close. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue, chest pain, coughing, and weight loss the Associated Press reports.
“We are deeply concerned by the severe cases of lung injury associated with vaping that we are currently seeing,” Dr. Emily Chapman, chief medical officer at Children’s Minnesota said in a statement. “These cases are extremely complex to diagnose, as symptoms can mimic a common infection yet can lead to severe complications and extended hospitalization. Medical attention is essential; respiratory conditions can continue to decline without proper treatment.”
While health officials still aren’t sure exactly what the cause of the illness is, the one thing found in common amongst all the patients is their vape use. “I really do think the primary cause of these illnesses is what’s been inhaled,” Dr. Anne Griffiths, a lung specialist at Children’s Minnesota, said. Authorities are now looking to investigate the types of vaping products that may be associated with the disease, and whether or not these cases are linked to a specific ingredient or contaminant. The type of vape liquid inhaled – beit nicotine, THC, synthetic cannabinoids, etc. – are also being examined.