Vaping, the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), have surged in popularity as an alternative to traditional smoking. However, concerns over potential health risks have emerged, prompting investigations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into an outbreak of lung damage associated with vaping, particularly products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
The FDA has found a direct link between these illnesses and vaping products containing THC. Not only can these products cause lung damage/injury, but these injuries can also be exacerbated when vaping THC products from unauthorized sources. Additionally, aerosol, liquid particles, are released in the air, which may impact respiratory health and increase the risk of respiratory problems. In other words, the e-cigarettes are extremely efficient when it comes to exposing human lungs to the chemical that makes up the product.
Reported patients affected by the outbreak experienced severe symptoms such as breathing difficulties, seizures, and chest pain. The presence of harmful chemicals, including nicotine, in e-cigarettes raises concerns about their impact on adolescent brain development and respiratory health. Given that the lungs are only designed to receive air (namely oxygen), and vaping aerosolizes chemicals with great efficiency, there is potential for damage and exposure. The long-term effects of e-cigarette use remain uncertain, emphasizing the importance of caution, especially for teenagers whose bodies are still in the developmental stage.
As investigations continue, the FDA is actively collaborating with federal and state partners to identify the specific products or substances that may be causing these illnesses.
To gather more information and ensure public safety, individuals are advised to consult their healthcare providers for any questions or concerns regarding vaping.
Author: Manny Gonzalez-Brito, DO, LW CMO (LifeWallet Chief Medical Officer).
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the adv ice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medication, medical condition or treatment.
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