Vaping Hospitalizations On the Rise, And Doctors Don’t Know Why

The vaping trend has taken American by storm. Young adults have been exploring vaping or electronic cigarettes as an alternative to smoking cigarettes and marijuana. In recent months, there have been 153 cases of life-threatening respiratory problems linked to vaping in 16 states, some of which led to hospitalizations. Nearly “2 dozen people—mostly young adults–in the Midwest have been hospitalized with severe breathing difficulties linked to vaping,” puzzling doctors.

Much of the doctors’ confusion stems from not knowing what the hospitalized adolescents inhaled in their vape pens. Some of the patients used nicotine or THC, or both. Doctors believe it was a respiratory infection or some other form of sickness. Doctors in the Midwest realized there was a bigger problem when the patients needed help breathing. A patient noticed a feeling of sickness occurring after smoking from a vape cartridge. He ended up on a breathing machine as his body shut down after vaping.

Vaping Ingredients Unknown To Doctors

A problem many doctors have is the patient not knowing what they’re actually smoking in vape pens. Individuals can be smoking contaminants or e-liquids that may be responsible for vaping-related health cases. Some of these contaminants may have been accidental, and some may have been deliberately added, possibly to modify the blend’s taste or smell. Teens can also be smoking marijuana, marijuana waxes and oils, hashish oil, or other oil-based chemicals.

Vaping And Smoking Increases Among Youth

A recent study by the CDC noted vape use often begins during adolescence, with 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first trying cigarettes by 18. By 26 years old, 98% of smokers began smoking. In 2018, 20.8% of teens used e-cigarettes.

Much of the motivation for teen vape use is due to the addictive additive of nicotine, as well as the flavor added to tobacco products. A secondary reason for vape use is peer pressure in social circles. If a teenager sees others vaping, he or she may pick up the habit. An increase of marketing geared toward vape pens is a factor in increased teen vape use as the new trendy item that seems healthier for both the smoker and individuals around them.

An unfortunate consequence (in addition to breathing problems and hospital visits), are mental health issues. There have been strong links between depression, anxiety, and stress coexisting with adolescent vaping, and biological factors can make it difficult to stop once a teen starts. Another important risk involved in teen vaping is a higher risk of teen substance abuse. If a teen begins vaping at a younger age, he or she is more likely to develop a substance use disorder as they age.

Vaping And Adolescent Developmental Problems Concern Doctors

A problem doctors found with adolescent vaping practices is the impact on the teen’s growing body. A teen’s lungs are still developing, and when he or she vapes, he or she is more likely to be exposed to dangerous chemicals. As a result, chemicals in vape products can be toxic and damage the lungs. Other cases of teen vape use can lead to brain damage. A study revealed nicotine in the brains of developing teens is a hazard for development, with effects similar to toxins damaging the lungs.

Doctors and nurses have become more concerned with the ongoing vape use and vape-related hospitalizations of vape users, urging vape manufactures to list all ingredients. New studies are being conducted, hoping to encourage manufacturers to make buyers aware of toxins. Adults should monitor adolescent vape use, and consider professional treatment if necessary.

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Krystina Murray

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  • Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.

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