An unidentified vape user died of a pulmonary illness that medical experts deemed exacerbated by vaping or e-cigarette use. The death of the person, who was known to be a white male who lived in Illinois, was placed upon a list of over 200 other users nationwide who were identified as having sever illnesses as a result of e-cigarettes or vaping. As a result of the growing number of illnesses, and now death, relating to vaping, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is providing consultations to state health departments about a cluster of pulmonary illnesses having to do with vaping or e-cigarette use.
The CDC’s acting deputy for non-infectious diseases, Dr. Ileana Arias, stated that “patients often report a gradual start of symptoms, including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath and/or hospitalization” and that they could not yet determine if the symptoms are directly linked to vaping or e-cigarette usage. In addition to the CDC’s current investigation on vape usage and how it effects human health, the FDA also stated that they are looking into the health problems associated with vaping. However, before the FDA could determine if there was a significant connection between bad health and vaping, they stated that they would first have to determine if vape products fell under their authority—especially given the fact that most are either imported or sold under the table.
There are currently studies that are showing changes in cardiovascular function after vaping e-liquids. It was discovered that even if the e-liquids did not contain nicotine they still changed blood flow within the femoral artery in the leg after just one use. Although, the biggest problem would be for users who vaped on a regular basis, however.
Given the problems associated with vaping, many states are taking matters into their own hands by either further investigating or banning the sales of vaping products. San Francisco, for example, was the first United States city to ban vaping product sales through an ordinance that was approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The main reason for the banning of the product was due to an increase in vaping among underaged users in the city. The proposal written to ban vaping stated that “according to the CDC, the number of middle and high school students who reported being current users of tobacco products increased 36%–from 3.6 million to 4.9 million students—between 2017 and 2018.” They contributed this increase to a nationwide surge in e-cigarette use by adolescents who are under the belief that they are safer utilizing vape products.
Both the CDC and the FDA are a bit baffled with vaping and e-cigarette products because they struggle to determine if the danger of the product lives within a potential byproduct of the nicotine cartridges or if it’s the vape itself. They also struggle to determine if the product directly affects the lungs or if it enters into the bloodstream directly. The only thing the experts are certain of is that there is a rise in respiratory or pulmonary issues among those known to vape.
Considering the growing popularity of vape products, the investigation on vaping and e-cigarettes is becoming a priority for the CDC, FDA, and individual states throughout the nation. Until they discover how these products directly harm individuals, it is suggested that anyone using a vape product who is experiencing coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, or chest pain, to talk with a physician immediately.