CDC announces a death that may be related to vaping

Vaping DeathCC: StockSnap at Pixabay

The world of smoking cessation is rarely fun for those who are true addicts. Nicotine gum tastes awful, patches can make you itch, and lozenges aren’t palatable. Because of all this, it was hardly surprising when vaping became resoundingly popular among those seeking a cigarette-free life.

Until recently, there was no evidence that vaping could be harmful. With thousands of carcinogens removed from the process of smoking, it had to be a healthy alternative, right? Well, the CDC is no longer so sure. Around 200 cases of lung disease have been attributed to vaping and at least one death.

Severe lung illness, potentially tied to vaping

The announcement came on Friday after the CDC reviewed 193 cases of severe lung disease across 22 states. Investigations began when clusters of cases were tied to those who vaped cannabis-based products. Brian King, the deputy director of research translation for smoking and health at the CDC, stated that there may be more unrecorded cases.

In each case, the patient has reported a specific set of symptoms. They include shortness of breath, dizziness, coughing, and chest pain. Some who were hospitalized have also mentioned symptoms relating to other systems, such as diarrhea. Tragically, one individual who presented with the symptoms died. As a result, the CDC is recording the incident as a death that may be related to vaping.

So far, the cause of the symptoms remain unclear

At present, it appears that vaping is the common denominator among the patients who have been investigated. As such, the CDC is no closer to identifying whether vaping is the cause. Additionally, the teams there aren’t aware of which adjunct found within vaping liquids could be causing the symptoms. As the ingredients in each liquid vary between manufacturers, it may take a while to identify the cause.

As many of the patients who presented with the symptoms have reported vaping cannabis oil, it’s becoming a point of focus. Regular CBD oil users may need to consider using an alternative method of delivery if they want to carry on using it.

So why would vaping cannabis be particularly problematic? Although many see smoking cannabis as a healthy alternative to nicotine use, experts don’t agree. The American Lung Association has long warned that smoking any product that contains THC is risky. According to the evidence the ALA has scrutinized, it damages the large cells of the lung, which then results in symptoms such as shortness of breath and a severe cough.

Until the CDC concludes its investigations, we can’t be sure how vaping has resulted in a death. If you are experiencing similar symptoms, try using an alternative means of quitting smoking.

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About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.