Study finds potential source to vaping-related lung injuries

Miguel Octavio
Created: October 09, 2019 07:08 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) - E-cigarettes are about the size of your index finger and they don’t even weigh a pound but when used, they could lead to some serious health concerns. 

Vaping use first broke into the market a decade ago. It’s grown in the last few years, especially among the youth. Now, a new Mayo Clinic study may have found the source of vaping-related lung injuries.

“We didn’t see a lot of lung disease reported until recently,” said Dr. J. Taylor Hays, director of Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center.

Dr. Hays said new research shows it’s not the oil in e-cigarettes that causes lung injury but it could be toxic fumes from uncertain sources.

"You don't know the manufacturer, or you get it from a friend, or you buy it from somebody that was not reputable and then inhale that through a vaping device,” Dr. Hays said.

Once the solutions heat up, the chemicals can change and injure the lung.

"The scary part is they go ill very quickly,” Dr. Hays said. “They go from fairly minor symptoms to serious illness in a few hours or a day or two.”

The vaping industry has been criticized for targeting youth with their marketing and medical experts say teens could be more susceptible to nicotine addiction. 

Dr. Hays said some new smoking devices could have as much nicotine contained as a pack or more of cigarettes. He said the youth also face pressures from peers and social media. 

"Once you're addicted, once you’re dependent, then it’s tough, really tough to quit," he said.

Which is why Dr. Hays said parents and role models have a job to stay informed.

"Have an open discussion,” Dr. Hays said. “‘Tell me what you're feeling, tell me what's happening at school, have you tried these devices?’ and really provide the open environment for their child to be open with them and tell them what's going on."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 18 deaths in the U.S. related to vaping. More than 800 lung injury cases related to vaping exist, according to the CDC. One death related to vaping has taken place in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. 

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