From the very beginning, I have written articles critical of the use of e-cigarettes. Early on we discussed the rationale of using electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS as they are now called) in committed smokers as a way of helping them quit combustible tobacco. Quickly, the discussion switched to the hazards of use for adolescents and teenagers, who were becoming addicted to nicotine through the use of vaping devices, particularly the Juul. Within the last several months the discussion about the detrimental effects of vaping has turned deadly.
Daily reports about serious lung injuries, hospitalizations, and deaths associated with e-cigarette use flood the news. Every day we seem to reach a new milestone. As of his writing, 1,479 lung injury cases have been reported in 49 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands.
Currently, we have information on 849 patients and the vaping products they used within the last 90 days prior to symptom onset. 78% reported using THC-containing products, with or without nicotine; 31% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products; 58% reported using nicotine containing products, with or without THC; and 10% reported exclusive use of nicotine containing products. Even more concerning is 79% of the patients are under the age of 35, with a median age of 23 years. The age ranges are 13-75 years.
The initial push back on the original articles written about the potential danger of vaping has now subsided. All I can say at the moment is “I told ya”.