Many people believe that e-cigarettes are harmless, even if they do still contain nicotine. Their flavored cartridges attract not only the target market but many underaged teens. The USB-looking devices have shown no damage to their users, that is until now.
Dylan Nelson was admitted to the ICU this July with difficulty breathing. By the time he got to the hospital, he could no longer speak and his blood oxygen level was only 10% (normal being from 90%-100%). He had to be put into a medically induced coma. This isn’t the only occurrence, either. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has confirmed 15 cases of patients being admitted to local hospitals with severe lung injury, much like Dylan.
Dr. Humberto Choi, a critical care specialist at a Cleveland Clinic, who has treated 2 of these patients recently says, “We go through the process of eliminating infections and other things that could be causing inflammation in the lungs. By elimination, it comes down to a history of vaping.” The only factor that the variety of patients have in common is a history of vaping. They have all reported having either vaped nicotine, marijuana or both recently. According to doctors, these patients are otherwise healthy teenagers or young adults. They usually come into the hospital with the symptoms of a bad respiratory infection, which includes shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, and coughing. The patients’ symptoms rapidly worsened and many had to be put on respirators. Some of the patients even had to be admitted to the ICU. Three have already died from their symptoms.
These cases aren’t only confined to Wisconsin – there have been 4 reported cases in Minnesota and 6 in Illinois. The CDC (disease control and prevention) posted a statement saying they are investigating “94 possible cases of severe lung illnesses associated with vaping” in 14 states. The CDC sent a few vaping cartridges to the FDA for testing to try and determine what exactly was the problem, though results still have yet to come in.
Despite these new developments, we can be sure that e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine in itself is bad enough. “A lot of underaged people don’t understand that vaping is still just as bad as smoking cigarettes,” adds Andrew Gebara, GHS science teacher. It seems like the effects of the e-cigarette are finally starting to show in the masses. Maybe it’s best to stay away from them until we know just what they’re made of.