Firm Logo

A Basic Overview of the Vaping Illness Outbreak

By: Anapol Weiss

Vaping has become increasingly popular among young adults in America. Studies show that 20% of Americans aged 18-29 say they vape despite the confirmed 42 fatality cases and probable 2,172 lung injury cases.

Vaping is the inhalation and exhalation of aerosol, typically containing toxic chemicals, through e-cigarettes or vaporizing instruments. Vaping products contain a mouthpiece to inhale the aerosol, a battery pack and the e-liquid. Whenever individuals add THC, or the chemical responsible for the mind-altering effects of marijuana as the liquid in their vape, the results can be deadly.

Whether users are vaping e-cigarettes with nicotine or swapping out the nicotine for THC, there are far too many unknown facts about the chemicals in these substances that can cause harm and even death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, has found vitamin E acetate in 29 patients who suffered injuries from vaping. Vitamin E acetate is found in THC vapes typically used as a thickening agent and is derived from vitamin E. Vitamin E is typically used topically or orally as a nutritional supplement.

Although vitamin E isn’t known to cause harm topically or orally, the CDC is further investigating the negative impact it has on lung health due to the chemical compound being found in the lungs of 29 victims. The presence of vitamin E acetate in the lung fluid has given possible evidence that this chemical is linked with the increase in vaping fatalities.

Why Do People Vape?

Seven out of ten people who currently smoke say they are looking to stop. One third of heart-disease deaths are due to smoking or second-hand smoking. So why is vaping an attractive gateway out of smoking cigarettes?

Although researchers aren’t exactly sure each chemical vaping exposes an individual to, it is considered healthier than smoking due to the fewer chemicals present in e-cigarettes compared to traditional smoking.

Smoking a traditional cigarette is smoking tobacco and directly inhaling that smoke. Smoking out of a vape is heating up the nicotine, which is present in both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, mixed with other chemicals and flavors and turned into vapor to inhale. The difference is that e-cigarettes do not burn tobacco, it heats up nicotine. Nicotine however is highly addictive and is derived from tobacco.

Due to the nicotine in e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes being so highly addictive, both methods of smoking are dangerous. Especially because researchers do not fully understand each chemical in e-cigarettes yet, so we are not sure which chemicals create which consequences.

The withdrawal of nicotine can be uncomfortable and encourages people to continue smoking. Nicotine raises your blood pressure and increases adrenaline which can ultimately lead to heart issues.

What Does the Center of Disease Control Recommend?

Due to the lack of understanding so far of how Vitamin E acetate harms lungs in individuals, the CDC recommends that vape users immediately quit using their e-cigarette and vaping products that contain THC.

Additionally, the CDC recommends that individuals do not add any additional substances to their vaping products that are not intended by the creator of the product. Researchers have not confirmed if Vitamin E acetate is the only chemical to blame in the recent vaping deaths.

Due to the lack of information researchers have on the chemicals found in e-cigarettes, it is alarming the percentage of new users smoking from vaporizers. It was reported that in 2015, e-cigarette use had risen over 900% in the high school market. Additionally, 40% of young e-cigarette users had never smoked cigarettes with tobacco prior to smoking out of a vaporizer.

The rise in popularity of these e-cigarettes can be detrimental to the user’s health. Smoking is linked with heart disease and cancer and by switching to e-cigarettes or vaporizers, it does not negate all of these harmful effects on the body.