8 Wisconsin Teens Hospitalized in July Following Separate Vaping Incidents

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Eight teenagers have been hospitalized in Wisconsin after separate incidents of lung damage caused by vaping e-cigarettes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

In July alone, the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin reported the cases after all eight teens admitted to vaping in the weeks prior to their hospitalization. Health officials called the cases ‘concerning,’ but have yet to determine an exact cause of the reported injuries, Fox6 News reports.

Officials with the hospital have warned teens and parents of the potential dangers of vaping, stating that e-cigarette cartridges often contain toxic chemicals that can damage the lungs, and with the products being as new as they are, their long-term effects have yet to be fully comprehended.

A press release from the hospital noted symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, weight loss, coughing and fatigue led to the teens being hospitalized, with several needing “significant therapy to help them breathe,” according to Dr. Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer at the hospital.

“The eight patients have had a variety of illnesses, some of which have been hospitalized in our intensive care unit and required significant therapy to help them breathe,” Dr. Guzeit said.

While most of the patient’s health and breathing improved following treatment, one still remained hospitalized as of last week, according to the local Fox affiliate.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services have already started their investigation into the reported incidents.

“They are investigating the cause, and perhaps, the origin of that — whether it may be a singular batch, or whether there may be other factors involved,” Dr. Guzeit added.

In a statement obtained by Fox6 News, Megan Cordova, executive director of the American Lung Association Wisconsin issued the following on the matter:

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“The American Lung Association has always held the position that e-cigarette use is NOT safe, especially by youth whose lungs are still developing. E-cigarettes contain chemicals, heavy metals and fine particulates. The candy and fruit-flavorings that so many youth find appealing also contain chemicals known to cause irreparable lung damage. These flavorings are designed to tempt kids and give the false impression that e-cigarettes are safe. Contrary to what the industry would have them believe, e-cigarettes are NOT SIMPLY HARMLESS WATER VAPOR.”

“Wisconsin had made enormous strides in reducing smoking rates but now faces a new generation of nicotine addiction among our youth. We call on lawmakers to act swiftly to enact laws to turn the tide on this growing epidemic – raising the legal purchase of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to 21, adding e-cigarettes to the states smoke free air law and taxing e-cigarettes the same as regular combustible cigarettes.”

Health officials claim prolonged use of vaping chemicals can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is a permanent condition that lessens lung effectiveness in transporting oxygen.

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