Vaping has become so pervasive in the United States that it is quickly becoming a rarity to go out in public without seeing a few clouds of smoke. The popularity of vaping is especially true for the younger generations, which has many worrying about the potential health ramifications of consistent use. As it turns out, those worries may not be unfounded.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported their first death that they are directly attributing to vaping. The CDC released a statement saying that they are investigating 193 cases of a serious lung illness that they believe are linked to e-cigarettes. These cases span 22 states, further illustrating the breadth of the problem.
The Insurance Journal spoke with several CDC representatives about the investigation. Brian King, deputy director of research translation in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health summarized the issue, saying “We do know that e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless so it is possible some cases may have already occurred,”.
It’s possible that this is not a new illness, but rather has gone undetected for years because vaping simply was not as popular as it is today, King pointed out.
A big problem is that there is no consistency in what goes into each vape cartridge. There are literally hundreds of companies that are making vape products. “The possibility of what can go into these cartridges is almost limitless, and that in and of itself creates a lot of variation in what we are seeing in a body’s reaction to vaping,” said Emily Chapman, chief medical officer of Children’s Minnesota to the Insurance Journal.
The mysterious illness initially presents itself with flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, muscle pain etc. That quickly turns into what looks like pneumonia, but no infection is present. The lungs will then continue to become inflamed until they seize.
The CDC is in the initial stages of its investigation, but this should serve as a reminder that vaping is a relatively new phenomenon. While it may seem safe, we really do not know a lot about the long-term repercussions of the activity. If you value your health, it may be time to put down the Juul.