RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Commonwealth health officials have issued a new warning about the danger of vaping and e-cigarettes, which is the most commonly used tobacco product among American middle and high school students. The latest warning comes after the first reported death associated with vaping.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 193 potential cases of several lung illness have been reported across 22 states, including the death of an Illinois man said to be a result of vaping. In Virginia, the Department of Health says there have been reported three cases of lung illness and it is investigating several other potential cases.
“Symptoms of this illness have included gradual onset of cough, shortness of breath, or fatigue, that gets worse over a period of days or weeks, until the patient has to be admitted to the hospital for treatment,” the Virginia Department of Health reported. “Some patients have also reported vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue.”
In response to the report, Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association commented, “Several health departments are now linking street vapes containing THC or synthetic drugs to these illnesses. Some of these amateur-made THC products may contain very high levels of certain pesticides that convert to hydrogen cyanide when heated. While this investigation unfolds, we urge marijuana users to stay away from black market THC vaping products.”
Not everyone is concerned about the warning. Garrett Rose says he’s been vaping for more than 5 years now, but he only uses brands he trust because he says others have dangerous chemicals in them.
“I have gotten a fake pack of JUUL pods before. They were supposed to be mango. They looked legit and everything. They were a little cheaper. And it was a JUUL brand on it and everything. I put one in and it burned my throat so bad,” said Rose.
Anthony Valenzuela says he vapes and smokes even though he knows they both come with risks.
“Basically anything is unhealthy for you. It’s not only vaping, it’s also cigarettes,” said Valenzuela.
For Valenzuela, vaping has its benefits over smoking.
“It’s a smokeless and odorless way to smoke a cigarette without smelling like one,” Valenzuela said.
Officials say anyone experiencing these symptoms are urged to seek medical treatment immediately.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, the number of youth who used e-cigarettes had increased by 1.5 million nationwide between 2017 and 2018.