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First U.S. Death from Vape-Related Illness

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J.Adderton has 26 years experience as a BSN, MSN .

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First Death Linked to Vaping

The first patient death linked to vaping has been reported.  The news comes as emergency departments and doctors nationwide are seeing a rising number of vape related respiratory illness.  Read on to learn about symptoms, contributing factors and the rising risk to youth.

First U.S. Death from Vape-Related Illness

An Illinois patient is the first to die of a respiratory illness linked to vaping.  The CDC, state and local health departments and the FDA are investigating the case to learn more. Hospitals and doctors nationwide are reporting an increasing number of vaping related respiratory illnesses..  Over the past few months, 193 cases have been reported in 22 states, with 22 of the cases in Illinois alone.

Vaping in general is the only link between patients visiting emergency departments with the baffling lung  illness. Few details have been released about the identity of the person who died, however, officials report many of the patients whose illness as been linked to vaping are adolescents or young adults. According to the state health department, patients in Illinois ranged between 17 and 38 years of age. 

Serious and Progressive Symptoms

Some symptoms, such as weight loss and fatigue, may begin several weeks to months before more worrisome symptoms emerge.  Many patients reported symptoms of difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Difficulty breathing and chest pain symptoms often progressed rapidly and some to the point of needing ventilator support. Advanced imaging, bronchoscopy and lung biopsies have been used to confirm that the illness characteristics are consistent with vaping injury.  Treatment is individualized and specific to the patient’s symptoms. High dose steroids have proven effective in suppressing the immune system and decreasing the patient’s inflammatory response.

The CDC’s Acting Deputy Director, Ileana Arias, PhD, reported based on the available evidence, an infectious disease is not the cause of the severe lung illness.

Pushback from the Vaping Industry

The Vaping Technology Association, a trade group representing vaping businesses, released a statement pushing back the rush to single out vaping.  

Quote

“Current reports have failed to make a conclusive connection between industry standard nicotine containing vapor products and these hospitalizations, and in some cases, have conflated these vapor products with the use of THC- or marijuana-containing products,” the VTA says in a statement. “At this point, neither the treating physicians in these cases nor the Departments of Public Health have ascertained which products and substances are being used.”

Is There a Link to THC or Marijuana?

Many of the patients acknowledged vaping THC, the chemical responsible for the “high” in marijuana.  However, health officials do not know if the illness cause is directly related to THC, another vaped street drug, e-cigarettes or if there were defects in the device. 

One unproven theory is that the cause is from a thought to be or known to be toxic substances in vaping products, such as:

  • Ultrafine particulates and heavy metals (lead)
  • Propylene glycol (used as a base to mix nicotine)
  • Formaldehyde and acrolein (in flavorings)
  • Any of the above toxins can cause permanent lung damage.

A Second Front in the Battle Against Youth Vaping

The number of youth using e-cigarettes and vaping devices has reached epidemic proportions.  Public health officials are now raising concerns about a potential second front in the battle against youth vaping.  These concerns include:

  • Widely available and easy to get cannabis liquids and oils
  • Growing use of unregulated bootleg or black market cannabis liquids
  • Ingredients may not be disclosed to the consumer
  • Counterfeit devices, substances and liquids containing inexpertly mixed concoctions
  • Cartridges filled with mixed substances by the  youth consumer.

Why the Surge of Illness Now?

Battery-powered e-cigarette devices are not new and have been on the market for over 10 years.  Officials do not know why emergency departments are seeing a surge in lung illness linked to vaping. Health officials warn anyone who has chest pain or difficulty breathing weeks or months after vaping, seek immediate medical attention.  

The FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal for Tobacco is available online if someone is experiencing a health or safety issue with a tobacco product.  

If you experience a problem with a tobacco product, such as an unexpected health or safety issue, report it online using the Safety Reporting Portal.  This includes issues with cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes and waterpipe tobacco.  Problems with parts or components of tobacco products can also be reported.

You may submit reports about any tobacco product, including cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes and waterpipe tobacco. You can also report problems with the components and parts of tobacco products.

What are your thoughts?  Have you cared for anyone with vape related respiratory illness?

Additional Resources:
CDC Media Release Vaping Related Death

First Likely Vaping Death Reported in U.S.

First Death in a Spate of Vaping Illnesses Reported by Health Officials

J. Adderton MSN has over 20 years experience in clinical leadership, staff development, project management and nursing education.

7 Followers; 84 Articles; 30,010 Profile Views; 328 Posts

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Snatchedwig has 11 years experience as a ADN, CNA, LPN, RN and specializes in Medsurg.

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Saving this. Who actually thought this was a healthy alternative?????? 

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

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Well I'm not surprised any idiot could have figured out how bad vaping was for you. The very fact that it was created by the tobacco companies as an alternative to smoking says it all.

 

Hppy

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GSDlvrRN has 4 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Telemetry.

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I’m so so glad you posted about this!! 

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On 8/31/2019 at 10:03 AM, hppygr8ful said:

Well I'm not surprised any idiot could have figured out how bad vaping was for you. The very fact that it was created by the tobacco companies as an alternative to smoking says it all.

 

Hppy

Vaping was not created or invented by tobacco companies.  

The sudden incidence of severe severe health effects (after years of no ill effects) points towards the introduction of something like wildcat thc oils.  

There are are tens of millions of people worldwide who have been vaping for years with no measurable ill health effects.  And lots of positive health effects like quitting smoking.  

Understand this & do the math yourself- the us government makes big piles of cash off smokers.  The government and big tobacco are working hand-in-hand to keep people smoking real cigarettes.  Bad press and hysterical headlines for vapes means smokers keep smoking “safer” cigarettes - and paying a few dollars a pack in taxes.  You can buy the ingredients to make a year’s worth of “vape juice” for less than the price of a single carton of real cigarettes.  When one does that, the government and big tobacco get $0.  

The real tragedy here is our government’s own greed in sucking up hundreds of billions of dollars of tobacco settlement monies and spending effectively nothing from that on actually helping people quit.  

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

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On 9/9/2019 at 3:00 PM, rzyzzy said:

Vaping was not created or invented by tobacco companies.  

The sudden incidence of severe severe health effects (after years of no ill effects) points towards the introduction of something like wildcat thc oils.  

There are are tens of millions of people worldwide who have been vaping for years with no measurable ill health effects.  And lots of positive health effects like quitting smoking.  

Understand this & do the math yourself- the us government makes big piles of cash off smokers.  The government and big tobacco are working hand-in-hand to keep people smoking real cigarettes.  Bad press and hysterical headlines for vapes means smokers keep smoking “safer” cigarettes - and paying a few dollars a pack in taxes.  You can buy the ingredients to make a year’s worth of “vape juice” for less than the price of a single carton of real cigarettes.  When one does that, the government and big tobacco get $0.  

The real tragedy here is our government’s own greed in sucking up hundreds of billions of dollars of tobacco settlement monies and spending effectively nothing from that on actually helping people quit.  

I stand behind my belief that vaping is inherently dangerous and largely unstudied in terms of safety. Is it a dangerous as cigarettes? I believe that any chemical that is not meant to be in the lungs which is purposely inhaled into the lungs is dangerous. As for those who want to believe vaping is safe I quote Tyrion Lannister of GOT fame " One should never believe a thing simply because they want to believe a thing!" 

Also the US government loses far more revenue from smoking than it gains when the costs of morbidity and mortality are figured in.

Hppy

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10 hours ago, hppygr8ful said:

I stand behind my belief that vaping is inherently dangerous and largely unstudied in terms of safety. Is it a dangerous as cigarettes? I believe that any chemical that is not meant to be in the lungs which is purposely inhaled into the lungs is dangerous. As for those who want to believe vaping is safe I quote Tyrion Lannister of GOT fame " One should never believe a thing simply because they want to believe a thing!" 

Also the US government loses far more revenue from smoking than it gains when the costs of morbidity and mortality are figured in.

Hppy

You might want to take your own advice regarding “believing in a thing because you want to believe a thing” - evidence based practice much?  

The first “vaping related death” happened in August.  People were vaping before August with no reports of death or injuries - other than cheap Chinese batteries exploding and mutilating a few people.  

A pretty significant number of adults have been able to get *off* of cigarettes using vapes.  Don’t allow your wild-eyed and irrational hatred of cigarettes cloud your scientific judgement.

Vaping has worked as a self-administered alternative to smoking for a lot of people when Chantix, gums and patches have failed.  The FDA has been in lockstep with big-tobacco against vaping, effectively arguing that its “better” for smokers to continue smoking than to “risk” vaping because....  reasons.  

Big tobacco bought into vaping (late in the game) and apparently began “marketing vapes to children” - the FDA and many states have been using the actions of big-tobacco to throw the adults who vape under the bus and to leave them no alternative but to continue smoking (which is proven to be harmful).

The arguments are a lot more nuanced than “smoking is bad, quit!”.   

https://mobile.twitter.com/CASAAmedia/status/1171501194658729985?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^tweet

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Snatchedwig has 11 years experience as a ADN, CNA, LPN, RN and specializes in Medsurg.

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1 hour ago, rzyzzy said:

You might want to take your own advice regarding “believing in a thing because you want to believe a thing” - evidence based practice much?  

The first “vaping related death” happened in August.  People were vaping before August with no reports of death or injuries - other than cheap Chinese batteries exploding and mutilating a few people.  

A pretty significant number of adults have been able to get *off* of cigarettes using vapes.  Don’t allow your wild-eyed and irrational hatred of cigarettes cloud your scientific judgement.

Vaping has worked as a self-administered alternative to smoking for a lot of people when Chantix, gums and patches have failed.  The FDA has been in lockstep with big-tobacco against vaping, effectively arguing that its “better” for smokers to continue smoking than to “risk” vaping because....  reasons.  

Big tobacco bought into vaping (late in the game) and apparently began “marketing vapes to children” - the FDA and many states have been using the actions of big-tobacco to throw the adults who vape under the bus and to leave them no alternative but to continue smoking (which is proven to be harmful).

The arguments are a lot more nuanced than “smoking is bad, quit!”.   

https://mobile.twitter.com/CASAAmedia/status/1171501194658729985?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^tweet

Wowzers considering you *attempted* to scold me on the previous thread about vaping. Let me ask you pointedly, do YOU think vaping is a healthy practice? I don't need a long drawn out post and some link to Twitter....yes or no. 

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

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2 hours ago, rzyzzy said:

You might want to take your own advice regarding “believing in a thing because you want to believe a thing” - evidence based practice much?  

the FDA and many states have been using the actions of big-tobacco to throw the adults who vape under the bus and to leave them no alternative but to continue smoking (which is proven to be harmful).

The arguments are a lot more nuanced than “smoking is bad, quit!”.   

https://mobile.twitter.com/CASAAmedia/status/1171501194658729985?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^tweet

First of all if you are going to throw out the term "Evidence based practice." You should probably do your research in a place other than Twitter. I specifically said it was my belief and I was still doing research. 

Secondly people engaged in harmful addictive behavior always have a choice which is to stop such harmful addictive behavior. I have been sober from addictive substances for 20 years so I do know a bit about what I am talking about.

You seem awfully vested in defending the practice of vaping!

Hppy

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

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Let me clarify something - It has been postulated that I hate cigarettes - That would imply far more emotional investment than I would put into the subject.

As a libertarian I believe people should be able to do anything they want as long as they accept the consequences and their behavior does not impact others which includes my tax dollars being used to curb such activity.

Smoke if you want - vape if you want - buy guns if you want - have sex and get pregnant and have an abortion if you want just don't expect me to feel sorry for you or pay for your mistakes.

Peace out

 

Hppy

 

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Snatchedwig has 11 years experience as a ADN, CNA, LPN, RN and specializes in Medsurg.

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28 minutes ago, hppygr8ful said:

Let me clarify something - It has been postulated that I hate cigarettes - That would imply far more emotional investment than I would put into the subject.

As a libertarian I believe people should be able to do anything they want as long as they accept the consequences and their behavior does not impact others which includes my tax dollars being used to curb such activity.

Smoke if you want - vape if you want - buy guns if you want - have sex and get pregnant and have an abortion if you want just don't expect me to feel sorry for you or pay for your mistakes.

Peace out

 

Hppy

 

Amen sister. I do however hate smoking. My asthmatic self don't do well around it.

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

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