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5th e-Cigarette Death Reported As Illnesses Double

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

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e-Cigarette Linked Deaths Climb to Five

Five deaths from a severe lung illness have now been linked to e-cigarettes. Since an article on the first death was published on Allnurses.com, the number of mystery lung illnesses connected to e-cigarettes has increased to 450, more than doubling from the previous week.

5th e-Cigarette Death Reported As Illnesses Double

On Friday, September 6, 2019, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) warned Americans on the dangers of e-cigarettes after the fifth death from an illness linked to vaping was reported. The five CDC verified deaths occurred in Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Oregon and California. In a briefing, the CDC also reported the number of severe lung illnesses connected to e-cigarette increased to 450, more than doubling from 200 in the previous week.  The illnesses have occurred in 33 states across the U.S. and the majority were in between the ages of 18 and 25.  Read about the first reported death linked to e-cigarettes here.

Narrowing Investigation

Public health officials are finding it a challenge to pinpoint the exact cause of the mysterious vaping illness.  However, Dana Meaney-Delman, CDC incident manager, made the following statement during Friday’s press conference, “We believe that; a chemical exposure is likely associated with these illnesses, but more information is needed.”  In addition to the harmful substances contained in e-cigarettes, there is also concern surrounding vape products brought on the street or that have been altered by consumers.

Delivery of Illicit Substances

Some e-cigarette products are used to deliver illegal substances and may be obtained from unknown or “street” sources.  The products may be modified, increasing the risk of user harm.  For example:

  • Single use e-cigarette pods or cartridges can be refilled with illicit or unknown substances.
  • Some e-cigarette products are used for “dripping” or “dabbing”.
  • Dripping: dropping e-cigarette liquid directly into the hot coils of an e-cigarette resulting in high concentrations (i.e. THC and cannabinoid [CBD]).
  • Dabbing: super-heating substances that contain high concentrations of THC and other plant compounds (butane hash oil [BHO], “710” and CBD).
  • The director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA, Mitch Zeller, reports particular concern is also developing around products that have been modified by vaping retailers.

Vitamin E Acetate

New York health officials have identified vitamin E acetate as a potential link between vaping and the recent severe lung illnesses.  Laboratory tests conducted at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, New York, discovered very high levels of the chemical in nearly all cannabis-containing vaping products that were analyzed.  Each person in New York who became ill with the lung illness and submitted a product to the state has been linked to at least one vaping product containing vitamin E acetate. Some of the vaping products containing the chemical are candy-flavored vapes. In a statement released by the New York State Health Department, a link was provided to images of some of the products found to contain vitamin E acetate (view images here).  Vitamin E acetate is not an approved additive for the state’s Medical Marijuana Program-authorized vape products and was not seen in the nicotine-based products tested.

Vitamin E acetate is not known to have adverse effects when ingested as a nutritional supplement or applied to the skin.  The chemical is an oil-like substance when inhaled and this is thought to be a contributing factor in the development of lung symptoms.

What is Being Done

The CDC, FDA and state health departments are continuing to investigate whether the illnesses can be linked to specific devices, ingredients or contaminants associated with e-cigarette product use.  States are submitting data to the CDC about lung illnesses associated with vaping, as well as the types of e-cigarettes used.

Health providers are being asked to immediately report any possible cases of vaping associated lung illness to their local or state health department for further investigation.  Providers should also provide a detailed history of the substances and devices used and when possible, any product devices and liquids should be submitted for testing.

What the Public Should Do

The CDC recommends people consider not using e-cigarettes while the investigation is continued.  People who do use these products should consider the following:

  • Monitor themselves for respiratory symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever.
  • Promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns
  • Do not buy products off the street and never modify devices or add substances not intended by the manufacturer
  • Products should never be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who don't currently use tobacco products.

If you would like more information regarding the outbreak of severe lung illness linked to vaping, visit this CDC website.

Are the lung illnesses caused by a recent change in vaping products or is it an illness that has existed under the radar?  What do you think?


Additional Resources

Vitamin E Suspected in Serious Lung Problems Among People Who Vaped Cannabis

Vitamin E Key Focus in Vaping Illness, Health Officials Say

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

7 Followers; 78 Articles; 29,293 Profile Views; 318 Posts

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

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I know as a nurse I shouldn't make judgements.....but this is like drinking a whole bottle of vodka and waking up with a killer hang over. What did these people think would happen? The potency of it is so much more than a cigarette by the looks of the smoke.

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11 hours ago, Snatchedwig said:

I know as a nurse I shouldn't make judgements.....but this is like drinking a whole bottle of vodka and waking up with a killer hang over. What did these people think would happen? The potency of it is so much more than a cigarette by the looks of the smoke.

https://slate.com/technology/2019/09/vaping-illnesses-dont-warrant-an-ecigarette-ban-philip-morris.amp?__twitter_impression=true

Understand that many “vapers” are looking for a safer alternative to smoking and our own government is looking to stifle and eliminate that as a possibility without doing any research at all.  

http://www.casaa.org/

educate yourself - don’t be a tool of big tobacco.  

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

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It doesn't surprise me that these diagnoses are skyrocketing exponentially. The role of vaping and e-cigarette's in the development of obstructive lung disease has been pretty well documented since around 2012 (As shown by 10 evidence based articles I posted in another thread on this topic. ) The CDC after-all is involved in epidemiologic research which looks at morbidity and mortality with a population over time. Now that the CDC researchers know what they are looking for I suspect we will see far more diagnoses related to vaping. 

The research that I dug up in just ten minutes of research shows that vaping affects the cognitive development of the teenage brain, contributes to DNA alterations that may cause certain cancers, increases by nearly 100% the development of obstructive lung disease (popcorn lung) in people who have never smoked and more. In fact people are developing this popcorn lung after only a few years of vaping vs development of such conditions after decades of smoking.

Honestly I don't care if people want to vape though I continue to take exception with people who need several 10 minute breaks in a workday for their "fix". Just please don't try to say it's safe.

Hppy

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15 hours ago, hppygr8ful said:

The research that I dug up in just ten minutes of research shows that vaping affects the cognitive development of the teenage brain, contributes to DNA alterations that may cause certain cancers, increases by nearly 100% the development of obstructive lung disease (popcorn lung) in people who have never smoked and more. In fact people are developing this popcorn lung after only a few years of vaping vs development of such conditions after decades of smoking

https://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/12/new-study-finds-that-average-diacetyl.html

 

"Table 1. Average inhaled daily diacetyl dose associated with smoking vs. vaping
Vaping: 9 micrograms
Smoking: 6718 micrograms."

 

Despite the much higher levels of diacetyl in tobacco smoke than in e-cigarette vapor, smoking has not been associated with "popcorn lung."

Thus, it is clearly misrepresenting the scientific evidence to conclude that vaping increases the risk of "popcorn lung" or that vaping causes "popcorn lung."

"The authors of the article argue that "due to the associations between diacetyl, bronchiolitis obliterans and other severe respiratory diseases among workers inhaling heated vapors containing diacetyl, urgent action is recommended...".

However, nowhere in the article do the authors recommend that "urgent action" be taken due to the presence of high levels of diacetyl in tobacco smoke (750 times higher, on average, than in e-cigarette aerosol)."

 

That article wasn't written by an e-cig industry hack - look his credentials over yourself - then compare the histrionics on all of the news articles regarding vaping deaths and injuries posted over the past couple of weeks. 

 

Popcorn lung isn't new news - it's old news being pushed by those with a clear financial incentive to keep people smoking real, taxable cigarettes.  

 

There's another side to "protecting children from vapes". 

 

34 million (adult) Americans smoke - 15% of the population.   A measurable number of people have been able to get off of "real" cigarettes with E-cigs, nearly always after trying "approved" methods of quitting.  Gum, patches, lozenges & Chantix have a one-year failure rate of 93-97%.  

Anything that can possibly help is something that should be thoroughly investigated and encouraged.  I'm not advocating on behalf of Juul, as I'm not convinced their motives are pure - but no one needs to advocate for them, as they've done a great job of buying their way into government approval after the government bans all of their competition. 

 

 

 

 

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