The popularity of e-cigarettes has soared among smokers and especially among young adults and teenagers. The types of e-cigarettes to choose from has also grown to include vape pens, e-hookahs, tanks, pods and the extremely popular JUUL. But what was supposed to be a healthier alternative to smoking has largely become an issue, as a recent string of deaths has been tied to vaping-related lung injuries.
As of this writing, 33 people have died and 1,479 others have come down with life-threatening lung injuries caused by vaping. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have yet to single out a particular cause of the lung injuries, but are calling the vaping-related lung injuries EVALI, or e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury.
They have also said that 78 percent of the patients have a history of using black-market e-cigarette products containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, or using products containing both THC and nicotine. It’s tough to know exactly what e-cigarette users with vaping-related lung injuries are vaping, since vape products remain largely unregulated by the FDA.
Investigators have found that the health risks associated with e-cigarettes used in vaping devices include seizures, nicotine addiction, nicotine poisoning, respiratory problems, heart conditions and stroke. E-cigarette liquids come in different levels of nicotine strength, but even when e-cigarette liquids are nicotine-free, they may carry other heart health risks. The heating element in the battery of e-cigarettes eject tiny particles, sometimes including metals, which can fix themselves deep into the lungs and get absorbed into the body’s circulatory system.
E-cigarette users with vaping-related lung injuries have reported a gradual start of symptoms, including chest pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, users have reported gastrointestinal illnesses, including vomiting and diarrhea, along with fevers and fatigue. Below we outline some of the vaping-related lung injuries that you should be aware of.
This rare disease occurs when oily substances are inhaled and get into the tiny air sacs of the lungs. Once in the lungs, the substance causes inflammation, which is being reported by some recent cases of vaping-related lung injuries. The severity of inflammation on the lungs depends on how long the lungs are exposed to the oily substance, but severe inflammation can cause permanent damage to the lungs.
The vapor from e-cigarettes is the result of vaporizing a liquid into an aerosol that usually contains nicotine and other chemicals for flavoring and consistency. Sometimes not all of the liquid is vaporized by the battery in the e-cigarette. If the e-cigarette liquid is not vaporized all the way, it can end up in your windpipe and find its way into your lungs.
This disease, which is also known as popcorn lung, affects the smallest airways in the lungs called the bronchioles. It’s called popcorn lung because it can be caused by breathing in the chemical diacetyl, which is used to give popcorn and other foods their buttery taste. According to the National Institutes of Health, the damage caused by bronchiolitis obliterans can lead to scarring that blocks the bronchioles.
Researchers at Harvard tested 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes for diacetyl, acetoin, and pentanedione. They concluded that at least one of the three chemicals was found in 92 percent of the flavors tested. These chemicals have been known to cause bronchiolitis obliterans when heated, vaporized and then inhaled. Many of the vaping-related lung injuries have been reported to begin with the symptoms of bronchiolitis obliterans.
Acute Eosinophilic Pneumonia:
This is a rare disorder caused when a forgein substance enters your lungs and your body increases the eosinophils. Eosinophils are white blood cells that attack forgein substances, but the cells can overreact and cause sickness.
E-cigarettes can vaporize plenty of toxic metal and nickel nanoparticles that damage lungs and can even cause acute eosinophilic pneumonia. It often occurs in first-time vapor users, an increase in usage, or a change in brand. Acute eosinophilic pneumonia has been noted in some of the cases of vaping-related lung injuries.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS):
This is a life-threatening condition in which fluid builds up in the lungs and prevents oxygen from circulating in the bloodstream. This fluid can build up with the inhalation of toxic fumes. The causes of ARDS are pneumonia, breathing stomach contents into the lungs, near drowning, smoke inhalation from fires, and lung bruising from trauma. ARDS can also be caused by inflammation of the pancreas, blood transfusions, and medication reactions.
Black-market THC vape cartridges have been observed to contain an oil derived from Vitamin E acetate, which investigators are saying might be the leading cause of vaping-related lung injuries. Investigators of vaping-related lung injuries have, so far, confirmed least nine ARDS-related cases with one death.
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If you or a loved one has suffered a vaping-related lung injury, learn how you can get the compensation you deserve. Call Lovett Law Firm, personal injury and accident lawyers in El Paso at 915-757-999 or in Las Cruces at 575-523-5555 to request a free initial legal consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers near you.