New Mayo Clinic Study Reveals More on Vaping Lung Injuries

Laura Lee
Created: October 03, 2019 10:49 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A new study from Mayo Clinic may contradict what doctors originally thought about vaping related illnesses.

"Shame on them for doing this," said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, "this is clearly meant to addict our children." 

Walz sending a message to the tobacco industry during a press conference in St. Paul Thursday after a spike in vaping related lung injuries across the country including 61 cases in the state.

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), more than 1000 cases have been reported and at least 18 deaths related to lung illnesses from vaping.  Doctors originally thought oils were the issue, but a new study from Mayo Clinic suggests otherwise.

"When we actually looked into the microscope we didn't really see the pattern that we'd expect to see if this was all just due to lipid accumulation or oils accumulating in the lungs," said Jennifer Boland, an anatomic pathologist with Mayo Clinic.

Researchers looked at biopsies from 17 patients from all over the country, predominately males, ranging in age.  What was found were signs of inflammation of the lungs similar to inhaling toxic chemicals or smoke.

"You know smoke inhalation for example, might be an example of noxious fumes that is breathed in to the lung and can actually cause damage similar to this," said Boland.

Boland says this study helps to narrow down what's really happening to your body when you're vaping.  She expects more data to come out in the near future to support this theory.

"I think we now understand that it's probably not the oil, it's probably not some allergic reaction or a hyper-sensitivity reaction, that it's actually probably direct tissue damage from the vaping." 

Walz is now calling for a statewide ban on flavored products and to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21.  In the meantime, the health department is working on an educational campaign that will go out to schools and families across Minnesota.

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