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August 22, 2019

Vaping-related Breathing Injuries Cause Panic in Multiple States

After nearly two dozen reports of vaping-related breathing problems in young adults across the Midwest, health officials launched a multi-state investigation to find a connection between the cases.

In Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, 22 teens and young adults have been hospitalized with severe respiratory illnesses after vaping marijuana or nicotine e-cigarette products. However, doctors have been unable to find the reason behind the vaping-linked breathing problems. The New York Times reports doctors believe the problems stem from inhaling specific chemical compounds in e-liquids that cause the toxic-like respiratory problems. 20 additional emergency cases in these states are being investigated for their potential tie to vaping nicotine, marijuana, or even illegal street drugs, as well.

The reported patients had difficulty breathing, chest pain, vomiting, and other ailments associated with respiratory injury. Some patients’ cases were more severe and had lung damage that required treatment in intensive care units (ICU). Each of the patients openly admitted to vaping e-cigarettes prior to their hospitalization, but officials have not been able to determine the e-cigarette ingredient or vaping system responsible for their injuries. Four teenagers in Minnesota were admitted to Children’s Minnesota Hospital over the last several weeks, complaining of having difficulty breathing and lung injury; one of the teens required treatment in the hospital’s ICU.

Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois have all launched public health warnings of the dangers of vaping e-cigarettes as official investigate the cause of the vaping-linked respiratory problems. Wisconsin health officials suspect open-tank vaping systems could be behind the respiratory illnesses. Open-tank vaping systems can be refilled with liquids purchased concocted outside of licensed retailers, leading to contaminated vaping liquids.

Vaping Health Risks and JUUL Vaping Lawsuits

Reports across the country steadily flood in about the dangers of e-cigarette and e-liquid vaping as more users are injured from e-cigarette devices and liquids. The American Association of Poison Control Center reported that as of July 31, poison control centers across the US have handled 2,439 e-cigarette device and liquid nicotine exposure cases since 2019. Additional studies over the past few years linked e-cigarette vaping to severe health risks including seizures, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, and fungal infections of the lungs.

A recent study from Duke and Yale identified chemicals in JUUL e-cigarettes, the most popular e-cigarettes on the market, that can potentially irritate and damage lungs when inhaled. This research comes amid an increasing number of JUUL vaping lawsuits in the US, parents and teenagers claiming JUUL targeted youth in their marketing and neglected to adequately warn users about the severe risk of respiratory problems, seizures, and addiction from vaping JUUL e-cigarettes. The FDA is currently investigating the relationship between e-cigarette use and risk of seizure after finding 127 reports of vaping-related seizures since 2010.

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