Studies Indicate Vaping is the Cause of Lung Disease Epidemic

Lindsey Ingrey, Co-Editor In Chief

According to the CDC, over 380 vaping-related lung diseases have been confirmed in 36 US states and the Virgin Islands. As of September 25, 2019, nine people have died as a result of the outbreak. The vaping outbreak greatly affects teens. A recent New England Journal of Medicine study found that one in four twelfth graders had vaped within the last 30 days. 

Symptoms of the illness include coughing, weight loss and difficulty breathing. Some patients also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms develop over days or even weeks. In extreme cases, patients can develop lipoid pneumonia, where oils build up in the lungs, or a similar phenomenon where white blood cells accumulate. The final symptom is acute respiratory distress syndrome. Fluid fills the air sacs in the patient’s lungs, causing a decrease in the oxygen available to the patient.

The CDC is currently conducting definitive research into the cause of the outbreak, though experts speculate that the cause is chemical exposure, although the chemical in question is still unknown. A recent study found that e-cigarette contained three microscopic particulates: amoung them PM2.5 and ultra-fine particles. While these pollutants haven’t been studied in relation to vaping or tobacco, other studies have linked them to cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and coronary heart disease, showing them to be dangerous to human health. Vitamin E acetate is another likely culprit. 

The FDA has yet to definitively act on the crisis, but New York has become the first state to ban flavored vaping products in an effort to curb the outbreak, specifically among teens. Massachusetts and California are considering similar legislation, and President Trump has said that he is interested in pursuing this course of action on a national level. 

Photo From Lindsay Fox via