Health authorities reveal that eight teenagers in Wisconsin have been hospitalized with seriously damaged lungs and the likely cause was e-cigarettes.
Teens Hospitalized Likely Due To Vaping
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported on Thursday that the teens were hospitalized after vaping. The teenagers were all hospitalized this month and treated at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
The patients experienced respiratory symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue before they were admitted to the hospital. The severity of the symptoms vary. Some experienced diarrhea, nausea and weight loss while others required medical assistance to breathe.
Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, said that scans and x-rays revealed inflammation or swelling throughout both lungs.
Doctors have not yet identified the exact cause of their illness but they suspect the injuries were caused by vaping since all patients reported vaping in the weeks and months before they were hospitalized. Some reported buying vaping products including nicotine and THC on the black market.
"We suspect that these injuries were caused by vaping," Gutzeit said.
The DHS is currently conducting an investigation and encouraged health service providers to be on the lookout for potential cases among individuals with a history of vaping who experience progressive respiratory symptoms.
"DHS is currently investigating the possible cause of these illnesses. All patients reported vaping in the weeks and months before hospital admission. The names and types of products used remain unknown, and patient interviews are ongoing," Jonathan Meiman, from the DHS Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health said
Figures from the health department revealed that 11 percent of middle schoolers in Wisconsin have tried electronic tobacco products and 4 percent are current users. Thirty-two percent of high school students have tried e-cigarettes and 20 percent of them consider themselves as current users.
Effects Of E-cigarettes
The health effects of vaping are not yet fully understood because e-cigarettes were only introduced in the United States less than 15 years ago. Most e-cigarettes, however, also contain nicotine, the highly addictive chemical present in cigarettes and tobacco products. This compound is known to damage parts of the brain associated with attention and learning.