Lately, there has been a lot of news surrounding health complications caused by the use of e-cigarettes or “vaping” as it’s more commonly known. We’ve seen an overwhelming growth in the popularity of vaping over the past few years, especially among teenagers and young people. According to one study, about 37% of high school seniors reported vaping in 2018, an increase of nearly 30% from the year before. With an increase in e-cigarette use, there has also been a reported increase in lung-related complications from vaping. In this article, we will examine the increase of cases involving lung injury and – in some cases – death, which many physicians believe are linked to vaping.
What is “vaping”?
Vaping refers to the use of e-cigarettes, which produce a cloud of vaporous smoke, hence the name vaping. E-cigarettes use a battery-powered device that heats a liquid to create this vapor that will then be inhaled. Oftentimes, the tobacco substances for e-cigarettes are flavored like candy or sweets, making them both very desirable and highly addictive, especially to young people.
Studies have shown and news outlets have regularly reported that there is a definite connection between vaping and lung illness. Over the past several months nearly 200 e-cigarette users have developed severe lung disease in 22 states, and the numbers keep rising. There have also been a handful of reported deaths linked back to vaping.
What makes e-cigarettes dangerous?
Experts aren’t sure if vaping itself causes lung issues or if this recent rise in lung disease is linked to a contaminant within the e-cigarettes, but physicians across the country are cautioning patients to stay away from vaping altogether until more conclusive information can be found. Symptoms usually start off gradually, with patients experiencing shortness of breath and a tightness in the chest. Most cases progress until they result in hospitalization, with many patients exhibiting severe pulmonary distress. It is unclear if certain individuals or lifestyle/health factors make an individual more susceptible to developing lung issues as a result of vaping.
As vaping gains popularity, so too does the risk of more people developing lung issues. The best way to combat a rise in e-cigarette-related lung complications is to quit vaping. There are a number of resources available to help people more easily quit. If you or a loved one needs to kick an e-cigarette habit, seek out support through resources and people who can help, including your doctor or medical professional.