Community Health & Preventive Medicine

Vaping

Community Health Initiatives

Currently, there is a nationwide outbreak of lung injury associated with vaping, e-cigarette use and use of vaping products.

E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs. This liquid can contain: nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) oils, and other substances and additives. THC is the psychoactive mind-altering compound of marijuana that produces the “high.”

As of October 22, 2019, 1,604 vaping-related cases of lung injury were reported from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and 1 U.S. territory, with 34 confirmed deaths.

The only common thread among all cases is a history of vaping, using e-cigarettes, or use of vaping products. Most patients report using THC-containing products.

Symptoms include:

  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Fatigue, fever, or abdominal pain

If you are a vape user and experience symptoms like those reported in the outbreak, see your doctor or a healthcare provider immediately, or call St. Luke’s Pulmonary Nurse at 484-526-3890.

CDC Recommendations

People should not:

  • Use e-cigarettes, vapes, or vape products with THC
  • Buy any e-cigarette, vape, or vape product, especially those with THC, off the street
  • Modify or add substances to e-cigarettes, vapes, or vaping products, including those purchased in stores

If you use e-cigarettes, vapes, or vaping products to quit smoking, do not start smoking cigarettes.

Regardless of this investigation:

  • E-cigarettes, vapes, and vaping products should never be used by youths, young adults, and pregnant women
  • Tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, are not safe—they all carry a risk

Common Misconceptions

The following are commonly held misconceptions around vaping:

It’s just water vapor!

  • That’s false—the vape “cloud” is actually an aerosol that’s filled with heavy metals along with many toxic chemicals, including diacetyl, formaldehyde, and acetone.

My vape says ‘nicotine-free’, so I only vape the safe stuff.

  • Since vapes aren’t regulated by the FDA, they do not need to be accurately labeled. This means that even some vapes labeled “nicotine-free” still contain nicotine. Plus, even nicotine-free vapes are harmful to health.

All tobacco use, including vaping, is harmful—a safe form or level of vaping does not exist. You should consider refraining from vaping or using any e-cigarettes.

If you are a vape user, talk to your doctor about going smoke-free, or call St. Luke’s Community Health & Preventive Medicine at 484-526-2036.