As the US battles a widespread ‘vaping disease’, a new study has found that flavoured e-cigarettes are toxic and can kill cells lining airways.
Vapes are ubiquitous: every city or town you roam, you’re likely to see the plumes of fumes erupting into the air at one point or another.
According to The Guardian, an estimated nine million adults and 3.6 million teenagers in the US use e-cigarettes. While they were initially promoted as a ‘healthier’ alternative to tobacco, recent events appear to be unravelling their potentially harmful effects.
Now, scientists at University of Adelaide and the Royal Adelaide Hospital are calling for more thorough government regulation, after finding that the fumes from flavoured e-cigarettes are harmful.
As reported by the MailOnline, Dr Miranda Ween, from the Royal Adelaide Hospital, said:
There are no regulations on the manufacturing of e-liquids. There are also no requirements to list the ingredients or their quantities.
As such, no two ‘apple’, ‘chocolate’ or ‘cotton candy’ e-liquids will be made with the same flavouring ingredients or even concentrations. These are the things that we know can affect how unsafe a particular e-liquid is.
Published in the medical journal Respirology, their research outlines that ‘e-cigarettes were shown to cause toxicity, increased oxidative stress, reduced proliferation, loss of lung barrier function of endothelial cells, and were linked to an asthma-like response’.
There’s some medical jargon there, so the simple version, as stated in the study, is:
These data further show that e-cigarettes should not be considered harmless to non-smokers and their effects may go far beyond cytotoxicity to cells.
Investigators are working to decipher the definitive cause of the illnesses – while the link hasn’t been officially established, the Trump administration is making moves towards banning flavoured e-cigarettes.
As reported by Bloomberg, Trump said at a White House meeting, with regards to flavoured e-cigarettes:
Not only is it a problem overall, but really specifically with respect for children. We may very well have to do something very, very strong about it.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar added that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would soon issue regulatory guidance to remove flavoured vaping products from the market.
A mum-of-three from Abilene, Texas, spent more than three weeks in hospital and was put in a coma after developing a mystery lung illness she puts down to her vaping habit.
Sherie Canada had been diagnosed with pre-pneumonia but was eventually getting taken to hospital after continuing to fall ill, where doctors discovered fluid and blood clots in her lungs.
Sharing her story on Facebook, Sherie wrote:
I am telling this story not for attention but to let others know the risk of inhaling things into your lungs, you have no idea of how precious they are until they aren’t yours anymore and a machine is telling them to breath for you!
I am sharing this today because I have seen so many cases or status updates on Facebook about mothers and fathers standing beside their children in the hospital or brothers and sisters as well, with chest tubes, or oxygen on them and wondering what it could be!
Adam Hergenreder, an 18-year-old student athlete from Gurnee, Illinois, is suing a leading e-cigarette company after vaping left him with lungs ‘like a 70-year-old’.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 530 cases of lung injury reported from 38 states and one US territory – with all reported cases having a history of e-cigarette product use or vaping.
As reported by People, CDC incident manager, Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, said:
While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products.
People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms, for example, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and vomiting — and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.