CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lung illnesses involving vaping, including with young children, are on the rise. Just this year, North Carolina Poison Control handled around 150 exposures to e-cig products with half of those being for children under the age of five.
“Vaping, for now, we really recommend avoidance at all costs,” said Dr. Jasper Singh, a pulmonologist.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 380 lung illness cases reported from 36 states and six deaths. All reported patients have a history of e-cig use or vaping.
“We’re not sure who is getting it and why, there isn’t a clear causality or clear dosage link yet,” said Singh.
On Monday, a report from the Associated Press revealed that the NC state crime lab found nearly 30 spiked products as of earlier this year. Nearly all were vape products.
“Until we know more it’s hard to say exactly what it is in there, but it’s clearly linked to e-cigarette use,” said Dr. Michael Beuhler with NC Poison Control.
Here in North Carolina, health experts are concerned by the high number of kids exposed to e-cig products.
“Two-thirds of adolescents don’t know these vaping devices contain nicotine, and we know adolescents who vape are more likely to go on to smoke traditional tobacco products and use marijuana,” said Dr. Shameika Dixon with Levine Children’s Hospital.
With flavors like mango, bubble gum and fruit punch, many say the advertising is geared toward children.
“If you look at Twitter, for some of the most popular vaping devices, 80 percent of their Twitter followers are 13-20. They know exactly what they’re doing and they’re targeting children because when you start using vape devices you have a three-point-six times greater likelihood of going on to use traditional tobacco devices and two times more likelihood of using marijuana,” said Dixon.
E-liquid can have a very large amount of nicotine in a small amount of fluid. Health experts are asking parents to make sure e-cig products are stored in a place where children can’t find or reach them
“It’s hard to predict who is going to get it so people who think they aren’t susceptible. We’ve seen cases where people suddenly get a lung injury that they didn’t expect,” Singh says.