CDC Warns Against the Dangers of Vaping after Recent Spike in Lung-Related Illnesses

Vaping products have become very popular in the last decades, especially the e-cigarette as a “healthy” substitute to tobacco smoking. They have become widely used by teenagers and young adults. But, they should not be taken lightly as health officials warn of the severe dangers of vaping.

As a result of vaping people started to lose their lives, namely the Kansas health officials reported that a sixth person in the U.S. has died from lung disease triggered by vaping. There have been reports of other vaping-related deaths in Indiana, Minnesota, California, Illinois, and Oregon. The CDC reported 215 possible cases from 25 states in the country, and there were already two deaths.

This could turn into a serious health issue, and because of that US CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), and other health organization have initiated investigations on this recent outbreak. Both the CDC and FDA have investigated the vaping-related illnesses and deaths trying to determine whether specific devices, ingredients, or contaminants in the devices or substances are the triggers of these conditions.

These organizations have been extremely helpful for doctors and as well as for the state and local health officials to better understand these diseases and their causes.

Causes of Vaping Illnesses

In all affected people from vaping-related diseases the use of e-cigarette products is most likely the reason for developing health conditions. These products contain cannabinoid substances such as THC or CBD, and high levels of the chemical vitamin E acetate according to New York health officials.

The investigation went further when these people sent their commonly used vaping products for analyses and most of them contained Vitamin E acetate. According to the lab testing at the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center in Albany there are “very high levels” of vitamin E acetate in the vape product samples containing cannabis.

Vitamin E Acetate – Health Threat

The state took control of this investigation, and the New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have initiated by ordering the state health department to issue subpoenas to three companies that sell thickening agents for the production of vape liquids. The Wadsworth Center was in charge for the analyses of the thickening agents from the three companies coming to the conclusion that “they are nearly pure vitamin E acetate oil.”

As a result of that the governor issued a law that all vape and smoke shops in New York must have warning signs and his ultimate goal is a complete ban of e-cigarettes in the state.

The CDC has released a warning to the wide public about the possible dangers of vaping and recommends quitting e-cigarettes of any kind. However, if people still decide to smoke them, they should closely monitor themselves for symptoms such as fever, chest pain, shortness of breath, or cough. It is still early to specify which product should not be used at all as it is unclear what role THC-containing products play in the development of these diseases because many patients have reported vaping both THC- and nicotine-containing products.

Nonetheless, a person that uses these products needs to be very careful about their use and the possible symptoms, and by all means they should avoid purchasing them from the black market.

The statements from officials of possible danger of e-products do not stop. The American Lung Association officially declared that “e-cigarettes are not safe and can cause irreversible lung damage and disease.” In addition to this, the President and CEO Harold Wimmer stated that e-cigarettes have a dangerous content that can significantly harm humans’ lungs such as heavy metals, carcinogens, vegetable glycerin, and propylene glycol.

The Trump administration strives to remove from the market all flavored e-cigarettes and the US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the same intent. These products cannot become the substitute for cigarettes and thus harming the children and youth from their use.

The president of the American Medical Association, Dr. Patrice Harris, along with all the other associations urges FDA to speed-up the regulation of e-cigarettes and clears all black products from the street. Furthermore, they push FDA to immediately ban flavors which are very appealing for the younger generation.

The response came from FDA, Stephanie Caccomo, a spokeswoman by an e-mail stating that FDA needs additional data to fully comprehend the relationship between specific products or substances and reported illnesses. FDA is in the process of investigation of e-cigarettes and other vamping products, and takes certain measures to prevent the vaping in young people by investing in campaigns to educate youth about the possible health threats of e-cigarette use. Plus, they are doing their best to enforce the law of e-cigarette use.  FDA warns the youngsters via introducing posters in high school bathrooms, presenting youth-focused prevention messages on TV, and establishes digital platforms, and educational lesson plans.

FDA should very soon issue a policy for new requirements of non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes so that to clear the market of illegal and unauthorized products. Several states have started to ban the use of e-cigarettes after Michigan completely bans flavored e-cigarettes, and San Francisco city prohibited e-cig sales.

The flavored e-cigarettes, especially the mint and menthol flavors, were very popular in the youth. Thanks to the CDC investigation their uses have started to reduce as there is an undisputable fact that the use of e-cigarettes is being related to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease. As a result of that, the manufacturers have been scrutinized by the Federal Trade Commission, FDA, and the House and Senate.

Tips to Follow for Vaping Products

  • Pay a visit to your doctor if you experience symptoms like chest pain, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Stop purchasing e-cigarette products on the street.
  • Do not modify e-cigarette products or add anything to them.
  • If you experience some symptoms after you have used an e-product, then immediately  call poison control: 1-800-222-1222.
  • People experiencing health or other issues related to tobacco or e-cigarette use should report them to their online Safety Reporting Portal.




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