Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Vaping May be the Cause of at Least One Recent Death According to the CDC

 


Vaping is a growing habit in the American culture.  It seems that no matter where you go, you will see the cloud of aerosol that results when someone exhales an electronic cigarette.  Over the years there have been some odd reports of vaping injuries.  They have ranged from people burning themselves all the way up to some pretty nasty facial injuries from explosions related to faulty lithium ion batteries in the devices.  However, now come reports that the vaping habit may actually have caused one or more recent deaths.

Last week the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) was notified that sometime in the previous week an individual in Illinois died from an “unknown respiratory illness”.  Now there is speculation that the illness may very well have been caused by vaping.

The CDC is now involved due to the growing number of cases of problems which seem to stem from e cigarettes.  The investigation was launched in mid-August due to reports of patients (mainly teenagers and young adults) presenting to hospitals with complaints that include difficulty breathing, fatigue, weight loss, and chest pain.  The latest numbers are up to 193 cases with patients reporting vaping in the previous month.

Vaping has become something of a sensation with young people.  The reports say that from 2011 to 2015 vaping by middle schoolers & high schoolers increased by 900 percent.  That’s right… 900 percent.  The devices, for some reason, have appeared to fly under the radar of the FDA and have escaped much attention from federal agencies.  However, now that a potential link has appeared between e cigarettes and potentially harmful consequences, both the FDA and the CDC are looking into the problem.

Part of the problem with all of this is that science takes time.  Studies take time to develop and even lots more time to run.  That means that for the foreseeable future, the status quo reigns supreme.  Meanwhile the popularity of the the products will probably continue to increase,  It’s sad, but it’s also human nature that when something becomes notorious for being dangerous, young men flock to it.  The CDC reports that rates of vaping in high schools increased 75 percent from 2017 to 2018 and that 20 percent of all high schoolers vape.  That is a staggering number to consider… especially if death or serious injury is a possibility.

The FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products is currently trying to figure out what is in each vaping product… but that takes time.  Like I said above, science takes time.

The CDC has also released the following statement:

We are saddened to hear of the first death related to the outbreak of severe lung disease in those who use e-cigarette or “vaping” devices. CDC’s investigation is ongoing. We are working with state and local health departments and FDA to learn the cause or causes of this ongoing outbreak.

This tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products. Vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms – including flavorings, nicotine, cannabinoids, and solvents. CDC has been warning about the identified and potential dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping since these devices first appeared. E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.

–Robert R. Redfield, MD, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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