Vaping is in the news… again… (i.e. you should quit vaping, and we’re here to help!)
There are endless options for what you might want to do with the end of your summer (End? How is it August already?!), but spending several weeks in the hospital with a severe lung disease probably isn’t high on your list. For some teenagers in Wisconsin, that was, unfortunately, the case in the last month. The cause? While it hasn’t been definitively determined, the Department of Health Services (DHS) says that the commonality amongst the teens was that they had all been vaping in the time leading up to their hospitalization. As of August 2, 2019, DHS is aware of 11 confirmed cases. Seven other cases are under further investigation. Their symptoms included fevers, chest pain that worsened with breathing, nausea, diarrhea, and diminished appetite, and some of them needed to be on breathing machines while they were sick. While all of them have recovered, we don’t know what the long-term effects could be from these incidents.
UW Health has seen an increase in serious
injuries from vaping devices. In the past year, we treated five patients, up
from zero the year before. The majority of the injured were middle and high
school aged teens. While fires and explosions from vaping are considered rare,
these incidents can be life altering for victims.
An e-cig device or battery can explode while
it is being carried, like in a shirt or jeans pocket. When it explodes, it can
start clothing on fire, which makes it difficult to remove the clothes or even
put out the fire. As a result, burns occur suddenly and close to sensitive
areas such as the face, hands, even the legs and genitals. Several of the patients
seen at University Hospital for e-cigarette related injuries required skin grafting
because the burns were severe.
As my daughter’s high school graduation date approaches, I have been paying a little less attention to the messages that come from the school. I can’t help it… I’m more concerned about plans for college than the business of today. I know I should be more in the moment. Is there a parent version of ‘senioritis?’ I think I have it.
Some school messages do grab my attention though. My daughter and I got a kick out of the message expressing concern about ‘grinding’ on the dance floor and how said ‘grinding’ (always in quotes) was prohibited at all future dances. Although they didn’t define ‘grinding,’ I knew what they meant.
*For a brief review on vaping, or electronic cigarette use, check out our blog from 2014.
Vaping is on the rise, and of course some clever kids are figuring out how to get a better high (it’s seriously impressive to see what random things people will try to see if they get high…). A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics states that 26% of high school teens who have used e-cigarettes have also tried a potentially dangerous new vaping method called “dripping” — bypassing the reservoir and wick of the device by dropping e-cigarette liquid directly onto the hot coils of the device. This produces a thicker, more flavorful smoke. What could go wrong, right?
After watching a few hours of local TV, I was impressed about the number of commercials dedicated to a new store that specialized in electronic cigarettes (aka a “vape shop”). I have also had quite a few patients answer the question, “Do you use tobacco?” with “Not anymore, I have switched to e-cigs”. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), electronic cigarette use doubled among middle and high school students in the past year. This has encouraged me to investigate electronic cigarettes, or “vaping”, a little more closely.