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The Latest on the Outbreak of Lung Injury

By Michelle Wong

The vaping trend is rapidly rising, and teens are paying the price. E-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco products among U.S. youth since 2014.1 The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared that “E-cigarettes are not safe for youth.”2 Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance that hinders brain development in teens. Our brains continue to grow until our mid-20s, allowing nicotine exposure to impact our learning, memory, and attention spans.1 

This past summer, increasing cases of people developing lung injuries related to e-cigarettes or vaping emerged. As of October 1, 2019, approximately 1,080 lung injury cases are associated with using an e-cigarette or vaping.3 18 deaths have been confirmed in 15 states, two of which within California.3 Patients in this outbreak report experiencing the following:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain

During this outbreak, more patients report a history of using THC-containing products.3,4

With teen tobacco-use on the rise, a call to action is crucial. In 2018, 4.9% of middle school students and 20.8% of high school students in the U.S. use e-cigarettes, with a total of 3.6 million students.5 APIFM’s Tobacco Prevention Team (ToP Team) is dedicated to addressing the vaping epidemic that is sweeping our youth.

But we can’t do it alone!

If you want to join our fight against tobacco-usage, here are a few actions that you can take:

  • Join our coalition
  • Set an example for others by living tobacco-free
  • Talk to youths in your community about the harmful effects of vaping

Together, we can cultivate a healthy, long lasting, and vibrant community!


References:

  1. CDC: OSH E-Cigarettes and Youth, What HCPs Need to Know
  2. CDC: About E-Cigarettes
  3. CDC: E-Cigarettes and Severe Lung Disease
  4. FDA: Lung Illnesses Associated Use Vaping Products
  5. CDC: Tobacco Data and Statistics

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