CDC Identifies 'Chemical of Concern' in Vaping Lung Injury Investigation
Physicians at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin have warned that eight Wisconsin-area teens have been hospitalized with severe lung damage, exhibiting serious symptoms including breathing problems. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, doctors suspect these problems are tied to vaping or e-cigarette use. The teens were brought in with symptoms such as extreme cough, significant shortness of breath and fatigue. Some had lost weight from vomiting and diarrhea, hospital officials said. They said the cases came on rapidly and were considered acute rather than stemming from consistent use over time.
Serious Injuries and Difficulties Breathing
The family of one patient said he has been hospitalized and is in critical condition this week after vaping THC – the active ingredient in marijuana – from a cartridge he bought off the street. He suffered major lung damage and injuries to other organs, his family members said, adding that he was not breathing on his own and that his heart was weak. The other teens who were hospitalized said they had vaped either nicotine and/or THC. No specific products have been identified yet.
The Wisconsin Department of Heath Services is looking into the cause of the hospitalizations. Health officials say the common theme in all of these hospitalizations is vaping or e-cigarette use. But there is no link to one product or a certain type of product. Many of the teens at the children’s hospital responded to steroid treatment and were released without the need for supplemental oxygen at home. One remained hospitalized.
A Warning for Teens and Parents
Public officials are taking this opportunity to caution teens and parents about the potential harm that can be caused by e-cigarette use. Several studies have shown that vaping can cause serious lung damage. Disturbingly, e-cigarette use among teens has jumped 78 percent over the last few years. As of June 30, poison control centers across the U.S. have received nearly 2,100 cases this year involving e-cigarette use and nicotine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration began regulating vape shops and manufacturers of e-cigarettes in late 2016. Since then, agency inspectors have visited 1,200 retailers and manufacturers.
As product defect lawyers, we have been cautioning the public about the dangers posed by e-cigarettes. We are representing clients who have been severely burned by exploding e-cigarettes. These health concerns are deeply disturbing, too. The companies that knowingly put these dangerous and defective products in stores and aggressively market them to children should be held accountable.