You’ve heard reports of teens across the US being hospitalized from vaping. Right here in Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Health is investigating recently reported cases of severe lung disease among individuals who vape in the state.
“Yes, we are definitely seeing a legitimate, a real association with vaping and in some cases severe acute lung injuring, we’ve seen several cases here locally.” said Dr. Justin Ardoin, Pulmonology and Critical Attendant at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc), 193 possible cases, including one death, have been reported by 22 states. The patients typically experiencing the illnesses are teens and young adults.
“There were some young adults who were having symptoms of chronic obstructive lung disease at a very young age like only after about a year, year and a half vaping.” said SouthStar Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner, Frank Garber, “They were having these life long effects that a typical smoker would have after decades of smoking.”
“So what we are seeing is this new population of younger patients that are vaping that have never smoked before and this is really the population that we are finding are more at risk of developing this acute lung injury.” said Dr. Ardoin, “Why that is we are not really sure.”
The question of what causes these illnesses is what health experts worry about.
“We are not exactly sure of what’s in the vaping whether it’s in the chemicals or in the device.” said Dr. Ardoin.
Doctors say users possibly vary the products they use, making it even harder to determine whether the illnesses stems from whether it’s nicotine, or THC. And the symptoms they’re seeing in patients are usually difficult to pinpoint.
“The symptoms of this illness are very similar to symptoms of common infections, colds, pneumonia and bronchitis.” said Dr. Ardoin, “For example, typical symptoms that we are seeing are shortness of breath, cough, you may even have fever, body aches and gastrointestinal issues as well.” said Dr. Ardoin.
While vaping has been around for a couple years, doctors say it’s something they’re still actively researching and learning about.
“Is it, I think we have two options, either a new chemical or something that we are right now trying to identify that’s been introduced to the market, or have these cases always been around and we just didn’t really put two and two together.” said Dr. Ardoin.
“If the negative effects of vaping is faster and not reversible then you know you could have a 20 year old on home oxygen because of this type of thing.” said Garber.