In recent years, using an e-cigarette or vaping has seem to become a popular
alternative to smoking. Many people have taken up this alternative way
to use tobacco, as either a quit strategy or just a “less offensive”
option to smoking. Many find it more accessible as smoking is often banned
in public locations.
While vaping has become more popular, the medical community is asking users
to not use e-cigarettes or vape due to unknown health consequences and
lack of regulation in the industry.
As I am writing this, six people have died as a direct result of vaping
and many more have fallen ill with severe respiratory symptoms or lung
injuries. There is even one case of vaping-related severe lung disease
in Wyoming, as reported by the
Casper Star Tribune.
As of last week, more than 450 people have been affected, with symptoms
becoming increasingly severe. The illness seems to take hold and progress
rapidly. The deaths and illnesses are spread throughout 33 states and
age does not seem to be a factor, although pre-existing conditions can
exacerbate the illness.
While the United States
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state health departments have been investigating this outbreak
of illness, they have not yet found a definitive cause or a clear connection
between cases, but are narrowing down the potential links.
The FDA has created a
Consumer Update to provide information for consumers to help protect themselves, as well
as a new Lung Illnesses Associated with Use of Vaping Products
webpage to provide an overview of these incidents and FDA’s actions to date,
as well as recommendations for consumers, healthcare providers, and state
What you need to know:
- Several states are conducting their own investigations and at this time.
All reported cases have indicated the use of e-cigarette products. Some
patients have also reported using e-cigarettes containing cannabinoid
products, such as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
- Vitamin E acetate is now also "a key focus" of the state's
investigation into the illnesses in New York. Some of the vaping products
that have been found to contain vitamin E acetate are candy-flavored vapes.
While the federal and state level investigation tries to make headway into
finding the direct cause of the lung injuries and illness, the
CDC and several other health organizations have suggested that users of vaping
products stop all use.
This week, the
American Lung Association warned that, “E-cigarettes are not safe,” and can cause irreversible
lung damage and disease. This includes e-cigarettes and tools like Juul.
In a written statement from the
American Medical Association President, Dr. Patrice Harris said, “The AMA recommends anyone who
has recently used e-cigarette products to seek medical care promptly if
they experience any adverse health effects, particularly coughing, shortness
of breath or chest pain.”
Learn more about e-cigarettes at the
CDC webpage, About Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes).
Rachel Conrad, PBT, CPT, MA, works at CCH
Wellness as a Technician, Phlebotomist and Health Coach in Gillette, Wyoming. Campbell
County Health's Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote
overall wellness among employee groups and individuals in Campbell County,
Wyoming and beyond. To learn more about Wellness, please visit
www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.