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Children's Hospital: Eight teens hospitalized with lung damage possibly due to vaping

Posted at 11:51 AM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 15:26:32-04

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin has reported eight cases of hospitalized teenagers with damaged lungs suspected to be from vaping.

In each case, the teens had seriously damaged lungs and all reported vaping in the weeks and months prior to being hospitalized.

"With the increase in use of e-cigarettes and vaping, parents and teens need to be aware of the potential danger," said Children's Hospital in a press release. "E-cigarette cartridges can contain toxic chemicals that have been shown to damage lungs. Because these products are still new, the long-term effects of use are not fully understood."

Patients reported symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough and weight loss prior to being hospitalized.

Children's Hospital said some of the teens needed assistance in order to breathe, while others have shown improvement after treatment.

Long-term effects are not known at this time, but it is believed that continued exposure to vaping chemicals could lead to more serious health issues such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This disease is a permanent condition in which lungs are less effective at transporting oxygen.

The hospital says the exact cause of the hospitalizations is not known, but the number of patients in such a short time frame is "concerning."

Here is a statement from Megan Cordova, executive director of the American Lung Association in Wisconsin:

"Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, one of the nation’s most widely-respected health care organizations, today released information of the hospitalization of eight teens for lung damage, which medical experts suspect is linked to e-cigarette use.

"The American Lung Association has always held the position that e-cigarette use is NOT safe, especially by youth whose lungs are still developing. E-cigarettes contain chemicals, heavy metals and fine particulates. The candy and fruit-flavorings that so many youth find appealing also contain chemicals known to cause irreparable lung damage. These flavorings are designed to tempt kids and give the false impression that e-cigarettes are safe. Contrary to what the industry would have them believe, e-cigarettes are NOT SIMPLY HARMLESS WATER VAPOR.

"Wisconsin had made enormous strides in reducing smoking rates but now faces a new generation of nicotine addiction among our youth. We call on lawmakers to act swiftly to enact laws to turn the tide on this growing epidemic – raising the legal purchase of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to 21, adding e-cigarettes to the states smoke free air law and taxing e-cigarettes the same as regular combustible cigarettes."