Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are aware of almost five hundred cases of severe lung disease that have likely been caused by smoking vapes and are now urging the public to cease and desist partaking in the practice until a solution is found.
The latest is a 55-year old LA man who reportedly suffered from other chronic health conditions at the time of his death. Other deaths have been reported in the states of Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois and Oregon while another man was placed into coma in Utah.
I don’t think there’s a single smoker I’ve met who hasn’t given vaping a go since electronic cigarettes first hit sales in 2008. I remember when they first came out and the producers advertised them as a ‘healthier’ form of smoking to help you quit. But now, a decade later, vaping has become such a popular trend that you find folks who have never smoked a cigarette in their life now unable to get through the day without vaping, billowing out toffee apple flavoured steam like a snapback wearing locomotive. In the words of Ethan Klein, vape naysh y’all.
Now, for those who do vape, there are clues that the practice is as bad for you as regular smoking. The little bottle of liquid you fill the vape up with has a label on it that tells you to never ingest the stuff neat, only through inhaling the filtered vapour. I myself learned this the hard way back when I used to vape. I was at work one stressful day on my smoking break, puffing on the cherry flavoured steam to calm my shredded nerves. It was going well, until the vape exploded in my mouth, dousing my tongue in the neat liquid. My mouth on fire, I bolted back into the pub and ran my tongue under the cold tap until I was sure it was all gone. The vape lay on the ground outside where I had dropped it, burnt black, ironic smoke drifting up into the air.
Safe to say, I never went back to vaping. And now I have all the more reason not to…
Out of the 450 cases of severe pulmonary disease reported, the majority have reportedly involved young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who were initially suspected to have a pneumonia-like infection.
A large percentage of those who have become ill are reported to have mixed cannabis products with THC (aka Tetrahydrocannabinol – try saying that in one go), resulting in severe symptoms, including chest pain, coughing shortness of breath and vomiting.
Needless to say, the CDC are advising people to stay away from vaping.
‘While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products,’ said Dr Dana Meaney-Delman of the CDC.
‘People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms, for example, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and vomiting – and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.’
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, LA County public health director Barbara Ferrer has issued the following warning:
Today we’re issuing a warning to all residents about the use of these devices as potentially harmful to proper lung function, Stop vaping now.
Although there is no official identification of the infection, it’s likely that the chemicals in the vaping liquid are indeed what is causing the spread. Last Thursday, health officials in New York disclosed that testing found vitamin E acetate in vaping cartridges containing cannabis. Vitamin E, otherwise known as Tocopheryl, has previously been considered beneficial to healing flesh wounds due to its regenerative effects on skin cells, but recent studies suggest the opposite.
The officials are now considering this to be the ‘key focus’ of the investigation, with the Food and Drug Administration analysing samples from a vast range of substances and imploring consumers not to go to the black market to buy the stuff.
Director of the FDA’s tobacco department Mutch Zeller said: ‘If you’re thinking of purchasing one of these products off the street, out of the back of a car, out of a trunk, in an alley – or if you are then going to go home and make modifications to the product yourself using something that you purchased from some third party or got from a friend – think twice.’
If you’re a vaper and struggling to get past the addiction, I recommend substituting it with something that’s less likely to kill you in excess. Like broccoli.
Images via Getty
Max is an awkward Medievalist struggling with ever evolving technology. When not writing for The Hook, he can be found attending self-help classes for his decade-long addiction to KFC. His greatest achievements include getting blocked by Owen Jones on Twitter and completing the Metro quick crossword in just under twenty-seven hours.Follow