Nearly two dozen people have been hospitalized in the Midwest with serious breathing difficulties linked to vaping. However, doctors can’t pinpoint the answer why.
NBC News reports doctors are struggling to identify what the patients—mostly young adults—inhaled or used as a vaping device. Additionally, medical officers have not been able to identify where patients purchased their devices or e-liquids. Some of the patients reported using their e-cigarette device to inhale other substances along with the nicotine, like psychoactive THC.
“We know there are certain characteristics in common with these cases, but we have not been able to get to the bottom of exactly what aspect of the vaping habit or product or solvent or oil is causing the injury,” stated Dr. Emily Chapman, chief medical officer for Children’s Minnesota, a pediatric health system located in Minneapolis.
The vaping-injury cases were reported across 3 US states, with four in Minnesota, 12 in Wisconsin, and six in Illinois. Patients were admitted and treated for what doctors thought were respiratory infections, like pneumonia. However, patients got worse instead of better.
“They’ve ended up needing our intensive care united and in some cases assistance with their breathing,” Chapman said about the teens admitted to Children’s Minnesota.
Doctors treating the patients in Wisconsin and Illinois encountered similar situations, and all the patients reported using vaping devices before their hospitalization. They, as well, do not know what types of vaping products patients used.
“Could it be that these particular patients were smoking something in common? Definitely possible.” Said Dr. Christy Sadreameli, volunteer spokesperson for the American Lung Association and a pediatric pulmonologist at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. “It’s also possible that as clusters become more evident to physicians, we start to look out for things more.”
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The CDC reports that e-cigarette vaping increased 78% among US high school students over the last year, leaping from 11.7% in 2017 to 20.8% in 2018. In response to the vaping epidemic, the US Surgeon General announced in 2019 the severe health risks of young adults vaping.
“E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams stated in his advisory. “Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine – the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can harm the developing brain – which continues to develop until about age 25.”
Thousands of e-cigarette users across the nation are increasingly reporting injuries caused by faulty e-cigarettes devices, overly toxic e-liquids, and inadequate warning labels on e-cigarette products about the health risks of vaping. JUUL Labs, manufacturers of the widely popular JUUL e-cigarette, are one of the main companies being called out for e-cigarette injuries and deceptive marketing. Young adults and parents claim JUUL Labs targeted teens in their marketing and neglected to warn consumers of severe health risks of vaping JUUL e-cigarettes.
"These incidents raise serious concerns and underscore why the FDA should be reviewing e-cigarettes and determining their health impact before they are allowed on the market," the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy organization for reducing youth tobacco use, said in a statement to NBC News.
If you or a loved one has endured injuries or developed a nicotine addiction after vaping JUUL e-cigarettes, you might be entitled to financial compensation for your suffering. Contact AVA Law Group today to learn more!