Hospitalizations lead to investigations of vaping

By Liya Davidov
Nation & World Editor

Recently, several dozen actively vaping teenagers were hospitalized throughout the nation, with many cases emerging in the Midwest. 

According to The New York Times, the teens that were admitted to the hospital for lung issues had previously been vaping either nicotine or marijuana. 

Public health departments in the Midwest are investigating the possible connection between vaping and severe lung-related illnesses. The New York Times reported that doctors believed there was an infectious disease among the teenagers when they were first admitted. When they were unresponsive to their antibiotics, there were suspicions about exposure to a toxic substance. The common factor found between the teenagers was their vaping addiction.

“‘We are deeply concerned by the severe cases of lung injury associated with vaping that we are currently seeing,’” said Dr. Emily Chapman, the chief medical officer at the Children’s Minnesota hospital system, according to The New York Times. “‘These cases are extremely complex to diagnose, as symptoms can mimic a common infection yet can lead to severe complications and extended hospitalization.’”

Those hospitalized in the Midwest are not the only concerns, as there have been over 90 cases reported in at least 14 states, according to The Huffington Post

Fox News reported that the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged an ongoing investigation of 127 reported seizures that occurred after vaping.

“‘The risk here is that if people are presenting to hospital emergency rooms or urgent cares, they either may not think of vaping as something that is threatening and may not include it in their history,’” Chapman told The New York Times.

The Huffington Post reported that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took interest in the growing issue by reaching out to physicians, clinics and hospitals, asking for information about the cases and for any available samples to study. 

“‘While some cases in each of the states are similar and appear to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing the illnesses,’” the CDC said in a statement to The Huffington Post. 

The CDC also said that it is unknown if a specific vaping brand causing these reactions or whether it is an ingredient that needs to be reviewed, The Huffington Post reported. The only certainty is the common symptoms that teenagers are presenting, even though the level of severity depends from case to case.

E-cigarettes are a common factor for those who are admitted (Flickr).

According to Fox News, the FDA does not mandate that e-cigarette devices have lists of all ingredients in them, which adds to the uncertainty among the investigations. As e-cigarettes and vaping attract younger generations, both the short- and long-term health issues are still unknown.

However, there is documentation of the negative effects of cigarette and cigar use that influenced the decline in use among teenagers, which Chapman acknowledged in addition to the public’s view on vaping.

“‘The truth of the matter is, we have so little experience with vaping relative to the experience we have with cigarettes and cigars,’” Chapman told The New York Times. “‘Recall how long it took us to figure out that cigarettes were linked to lung cancer. There is so much we don’t know.’”

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