Health Team

Just stop: Vaping and e-cigarettes causing lung disease across the US, CDC warns

Posted September 11, 2019 6:50 a.m. EDT
Updated September 11, 2019 6:12 p.m. EDT

— New warnings about electronic cigarettes from the CDC as well as many state and local health departments have doctors concerned.

Officials say the country is currently experiencing a multi-state outbreak of severe lung disease. For more than 10 years in the United States, the vaping industry boomed in North Carolina and across the country, partly due to the belief that vaping is safer than smoking.

Dr. Allen Mask, WRAL's medical expert, says evidence now indicates that's not true. "I talked to one pulmonologist (lung specialist) this morning who pointed out that he has a patient in the ICU in Raleigh right now who's suffering from severe vaping related lung injury," said Mask.

The CDC reports more than 450 possible cases of lung illness in 30 states associated with vaping and at least five related deaths. Some e-cigarette users never smoked and began their nicotine habit early with vaping.

"It's estimated that about 1 out of every 5 high school students have vaped at some point in time -- and about 1 in 20 middle schoolers as well," said Mask.

The CDC warns that e-cigarettes should never be used by children, young adults or women who are pregnant.

CDC officials also recommend smokers not make the transition to e-cigarettes. Instead, use evidence-based treatments to quit smoking.

Right now, we're recommending that patients who are smoking or vaping try to dig up some will power to simply stop -- because we know it's deleterious for your health," Mask said.

A federal investigation of electronic cigarettes is ongoing. If you have used electronic cigarettes and have symptoms like coughing, sneezing and throat irritation, talk to your doctor.