We have about 500 cases in 33 states of individuals suffering with lung illness that is suspected to be caused by vaping.
And the scariest part, up to five deaths have been reported with the same type of lung injury.
They’re having a chemical inflammation in their lungs, and the only thing that they’re doing that could possibly cause it is vaping.
These are not elderly folks with lung disease or those suffering with pneumonia.
We’re having young people who are otherwise healthy being admitted into the intensive care unit, put on breathing machines just because they were vaping.
Why is this happening now?
Many people have speculated that, oh, it’s because we’re more likely to recognize that people may be vaping and ask the question, therefore, identify more cases.
Well, last year, when we were asking the same vaping question, we didn’t see this uptick in cases.
This is a genuine uptick, and there’s been studies actually that have been done on this and proven this to be true.
I think two reasonable things that can be happening is,
1. products have changed somewhat over the last year.
They’ve become more potent. They’ve added new flavors. They’ve added new ingredients.
2. If someone’s been vaping for a longer period of time, they’re more likely to have side effects.
And possibly one of these side effects is lung-related injury.
Is this caused by a specific product, a specific chemical, a specific modification, or a specific frequency of use?
Now, we don’t have answers to those questions.
The one pattern that we have seen in the recent times, they’ve been using not only nicotine products, but the huge majority of them use THC vape products.
In those THC vape product, there is a chemical called vitamin E acetate.
And New York State Department health officials have a suspicion that it’s this chemical that’s causing many of these cases.
And, of course, the big companies like Juul are jumping in and saying, well, our products don’t contain THC.
So we shouldn’t really be affected by this. I don’t think that’s the case.
There have been some instances of people not using THC vapes and just using nicotine vapes like Juul. So jumping to a conclusion now is just too early.
That’s why the CDC mentioned that there’s a pattern but are not saying anything definitively.
As I said before, I much prefer to be alert in these circumstances rather than anxious.
So I wanna give you some symptoms that are good to be on the lookout for if you or your loved ones vape.
The obvious one here is shortness of breath. It can develop slowly over time in a progressive manner, or it can happen really quickly, at which point you have to call 911.
The other symptoms are less specific. We’re talking nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and even a cough.
Now, all those things may make you think that you have a virus or some other sort of infection.
But that’s exactly why it’s important if you see any of these symptoms and you vape to go get checked out by your doctor.
Now, if you’re using it as a form of risk reduction, you’re a habitual smoker, adult smoker, and you’d like to get off cigarettes and vaping is the only the only way you can.
You’ve tried all of the other methods, and they’ve failed.
Maybe, in that circumstance, I can say vaping works.
But right now, what we’re seeing is a generation of young people that actually weren’t smoking cigarettes that are now starting to get addicted to vaping.
And the reason why vaping is so addicting is because of nicotine.
Nicotine affects your frontal cortex.
That’s the part of your brain
that’s responsible for decision making.
When you’re a teen, that area isn’t fully formed and developed yet, so you’re very susceptible to outside influences on that area, meaning that you’re more likely to develop an addiction potential.
In fact, the reason we regulate products like smoking, alcohol, gambling is primarily because of this reason that we don’t want the frontal cortex affected by this.
When Juul and all these other companies launched their product, they really benefited from the perception that vaping is safer than smoking.
And while that may be true in some cases, if you weren’t smoking to begin with, there’s no real reason to vape.
But the way they advertised it to young people is that, uh, it’s pretty much safe. They showed picture of cool and hip young adults using it.
They even created flavors like bubble gum, cotton candy.
Who’s that attractive for?
The young mind obviously.
Now, in this specific circumstance where we’re seeing all these vaping lung-related injuries start to rack up, we need to take action.
I don’t like that the CDC said we should consider stopping vaping.
What does consider even mean?
I recently heard a doctor say this really well.
Imagine you’re in a building. And the fire alarm goes off, and the announcement that’s made is not to evacuate but to consider evacuating.
What are you gonna do there?
You might be left in flux and confused.
So I don’t think that the current level of alert by the CDC is appropriate. I think what we should do just like we do when there’s a salmonella outbreak in lettuce for example, we say don’t eat any lettuce until further notice, until we figure this thing out.
I think we should exactly that.
We should stop all vaping until we figure out what is causing this.
Is it a specific chemical?
Is it a specific product?
Is it a specific frequency?
We need answers before we start giving guidance.
And until we can give guidance, the proper guidance is to say, don’t do it.