A device marketed to ease nicotine addiction from cigarettes, and often targeted towards young adults for its wide variety of flavors has caused 13 deaths and multiple hospitalizations.
The first electronic cigarette was patented in the 1960’s, but didn’t gain popularity until the early 2000’s. This popularity arose from a spike of advertisements directed at teens and young adults.
Flavors like watermelon, strawberry, bubblegum, and an endless amount more, have been criticized for tempting teens and young adults to vape. These flavors, which also contain nicotine, made vaping appealing for a larger marketplace.
Although not only teens and young adults are being affected by this illness. An article from CNBC says, “the CDC has demographic data on, 61.9% of the victims were between 18 to 34 years old.” Anyone can be affected and fall ill from vaping.
Juul and Suorin are are some of the more popular companies selling e-cigarette products. These companies have been in the spotlight recently while an investigation into what’s causing these illnesses takes place.
Early symptoms of this vaping-related lung illness includes, coughing, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and abdominal pain. These symptoms have been treated in 46 states and one territory of the US.
As these symptoms appear in more people everyday, and the death toll continues to rise, people are questioning what chemicals lie at the root of this epidemic.
When asked about the recent vaping epidemic, Thomas McCarthy, a student at UNC, said he might have to quit vaping if more evidence comes to light of negative health effects. He wanted to know what the chemicals in the vaporizers were doing to his lungs and what caused the illnesses.
A CNBC article published September 27 shows statistics that the root of the problem doesn’t just lie with vaping nicotine. In the article, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that, “Among the 514 cases where the CDC has data on which substance they were vaping, 76.9% said they used THC and 56.8% reported using nicotine, according to a CDC report published Friday. More than a third of the patients, 36%, said they exclusively used THC while 16% said they only vaped nicotine.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention believes that with further research, vaping THC products, rather than nicotine products might be causing an increase in these illnesses. They aren’t ruling out nicotine based products though, they are urging people to stop all vaping.
Another chemical believed to be involved in the cause of this illness is Vitamin E acetate. In an article from the Washington Post it says that, “The chemical, Vitamin E acetate, was present in almost all of the cannabis samples from victims identified in New York, according to the state’s health department.”
Vitamin E acetate was also found in several other samples from the states affected.
The exact cause of these illnesses has yet to be found, several states have enacted bans on vaping. New York was the first state to enact a ban on vaping products followed by bans from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and California.
Tobacco use from either smoking or vaping is prohibited on campus at UNC. According to the Greeley Tribune this went into effect in November of 2018 when, “Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order…to ban smoking — including e-cigarettes and vapes — in state buildings and on the grounds of state buildings, which includes state university campuses.”