Officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that a patient in Illinois became the first person to die from lung injuries caused by vaping on Aug. 23 among an increase of lung injuries linked to vaping.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning against vaping while investigating the increase in lung injuries.
According to the CDC as of Sept. 26 there had been 12 confirmed deaths, however four more have occurred since then bringing the total to 16 as of Oct. 1. The 16 deaths have occurred in 12 states, including California, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, Oregon, and recent ones in Nebraska, New Jersey and North Carolina.
Vaping has become popular among high school and college students in recent years. It is a newer, technology-based way of smoking that takes away the inhalation of actual smoke. It is said to be safer than smoking because it does not contain the same type of smoke and some e-cigarettes do not contain nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco.
However, not much was known about the potential effects of vaping until recently. Studies are starting to come out about the dangers of this new phenomenon that indicate vaping may not be as safe as some believed, especially in light of the sudden increase in lung injuries.
According to a new study released on radiology, published by a team from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, even nicotine-free e-cigarettes present a danger by stiffening and tightening blood vessels.
During this study, groups of young, healthy nonsmokers were tested before and after vaping. The study showed that after inhaling the vapors from the nicotine-free e-cigarettes, there was a brief decrease in blood vessel function, which can cause blood pressure problems and headaches, among other problems.
The study states that more research will be needed to determine the long-term effects on people’s hearts and lungs.
Karen Bradley, dean of the College of Nursing at California Baptist University and professor of nursing, said e-cigarettes are not a safe way to quit smoking.
“These devices are not a safe alternative to smoking.” Bradley said. “Young adults who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes in the future.”
For Cassandra Roberson, freshman early childhood studies major, what concerned her the most was the recent increase in lung injuries.
“(It’s) a little worrying,” Roberson said. “I know a lot of people think that it’s ok, that it’s not harmful, but I don’t like the smell of it and I don’t like to be around it. I feel like it’s just bad, and it hurts your lungs just as much as a normal cigarette,” Roberson said.
Christian Moreto, senior nursing major, expressed his concern about the addictiveness of vaping.
“It’s a bad habit that can worsen over time.” Moreto said. “It’s very addicting, and… It can be toxic to someone’s life.”
The CDC has stated that e-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women and adults who do not currently use tobacco products, and that scientists still have a lot to learn about whether e-cigarettes are an effective tool for people trying to quit smoking.
Since there is still a lot that studies have not determined about vaping, students should keep the CDC’s recommendation in mind and stay up-to-date on the health effects if they consider vaping. Students should keep an eye out for new studies.