22 people have been hospitalized over the last few weeks with vaping-linked breathing problems, bringing to light just how dangerous vaping can be.
Of those 22 young people, four were reported in Minnesota, 12 in Wisconsin, primarily Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and six in Illinois. Doctors originally thought all of the cases were the result of pneumonia, but with treatment, their conditions only got worse. Most needed help breathing because they couldn’t do it on their own and were increasingly suffering from lung distress. One man was put into a medically induced coma because his lungs were filling with fluid. While all are expected to survive, the potential consequences of vaping should not be minimized or downplayed.
Given the severity of the hospitalizations, it should not come as a surprise that doctors and scientists are feverishly researching a cause. It has not yet been determined, beyond vaping dangers, what the cause of the respiratory issues are, whether that be a particular habit, oil, or brand.
“Vaping use among teens has jumped 78% over the last few years,” Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, said at a news conference. Even more alarming, there has been an almost 50% increase among middle school students.
Vapes are getting into the hands of young adults, and the consequences are proving to be disastrous. Teenagers' brains are still developing. When chemicals are introduced to their bodies, it begins to have negative effects on their development. But, the lasting effects of vaping dangers and “vape juice” are still largely unknown.
A recent study published in July 2019 looked at eight Juul e-liquid flavors, “which contain a different mixture of solvents than many other brands of e-liquid”. The study found that those e-liquids react, forming an irritating chemical acetal while sitting on the shelves of stores. There are two forms of acetal chemicals - one that is considered harmful and one that is generally safe for consumption and touch. But, due to the relatively recent development of “vape juice”, it is unknown if the chemicals in vaping are safe for human consumption, on a long term basis.
More young adults are likely to be injured, and some of those will likely be hospitalized. As vaping continues to grow in popularity, it’s important to look at two factors: what are the long term consequences of vaping and what are the toxic chemicals being used in vapes?
As research continues, we need to ask ourselves, “what is the solution to this growing health epidemic?”
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