There’s a growing epidemic of vaping-related death and illness and some states are taking action
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, said Sunday he will push for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. The statement comes after a growing concern over vaping, due to an increased number of vaping-related deaths and illnesses. The goal is to follow a similar ban that Michigan has already put in place. Massachusetts and California are set to introduce bills, as well.
Cuomo said New York’s Public Health and Health Planning Council and state health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, would issue an emergency regulation that banned the flavored e-cigarettes citing the clear health risks they pose. “At a minimum, it is addicting young people to nicotine at a very early age,” he said. But some people have already died from vaping-related illnesses and many more have gotten sick. According to the CDC, more than 450 people have developed lung-related illnesses, but the numbers are growing all the time.
David Christiani, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health wrote an editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine, calling vaping-induced lung injury an “epidemic” that “begs for an urgent response.”
The CDC suggests people should avoid using e-cigarettes. Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, who is the incident manager of the CDC’s response to the vaping-related lung injuries said, “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.”
Most patients who got sick from vaping (possibly all of them) used cannabis-derived vaping products, some had also used nicotine-containing products, and a smaller group used nicotine only. But more investigation needs to be done to determine exactly what is making people so sick. The CDC says, “lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure.”
The average patients are around 19-years-old, male, and were all healthy before they started having vaping-related symptoms. All those illnesses looked the same, too — they were sick for a few days, then came to the hospital with breathing problems, developed fevers, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
While a sizable portion of the population vapes, many of whom switched from cigarettes believing it was a healthier alternative, a shocking number of teens vape. Last year, the CDC reported that number was about 1 in 5. It’s terrifying to think about how many young people are taking up the habit, especially now that we know it can cause serious illness — and fast.
Hopefully, more states will continue taking action to keep the greater public, including many young people, safe.