A mystery lung disease has raised the alarm in the US, where health officials have warned of a potential link to vaping. Figures obtained by CNN from health departments across the country have uncovered more than 120 cases of the disease among users. To ‘vape’ people use e-cigarettes to super-heat a solution called e-liquid, which they inhale as they might a tobacco cigarette. Experts concluded inhaling this vapour is up to 95 percent less harmful than most cigarettes, but new research suggests those who partake cannot dodge lung disease.
Can vaping cause lung disease?
American news service CNN found at least 15 states in the US have detected more than 120 cases of lung disease or injury, which they have since linked to vaping.
Health officials in New York, Illinois, California, Florida and more found they had at least 10 confirmed cases of vaping-related injuries each.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) admitted some patients with the disease for “multiple weeks”.
Some patients ended up in the intensive care unit, after having visited hospital with a range of symptoms.
Patients initially came to the hospital with shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and chest pain.
Health officials noticed other patients also had symptoms including fever, cough, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches and dizziness.
However, they noted it was unclear whether the injuries they treated were a direct result of the habit or not.
The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has urged doctors to collect information and samples from patients and said it is working with states to facilitate tests.
Doctor Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist and medical director for the Minnesota Department of Health, warned parents to look out for vaping use and breathing problems among their children.
She said: “There are still many unanswered questions, but the health harms emerging from the current epidemic of youth vaping in Minnesota continue to increase.
“We are encouraging providers and parents to be on the look-out for vaping as a cause for unexplained breathing problems and lung injury and disease.”
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said he believes cases of lung disease among people who vape result from “amateur-made street vapes containing THC or illegal drugs”.
Dr Howard Zucker, Health Commissioner for New York State, said more research is necessary.
He said in a statement: “While many people consider vaping to be a less dangerous alternative to smoking cigarettes, it is not risk-free.
“These latest reports of pulmonary disease in people using vaping products in New York and other states are proof that more study is needed on the long-term health effects of these products.”
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