A Spotlight on Vaping-linked Lung Conditions

For millennials, vaping was a hip idea until media sources began airing threatening stories of deaths caused by lung conditions related to the use of electronic cigarettes.

Then crackdowns began, and now, what we see is quagmire in the e-cigarette industry as the administration catches up with bad players and states pass new regulations that will turn things around.

Things Falling Apart for the E-cigarette Sector

Michigan led the fight against harmful forms of e-cigs when it became the first state to ban flavored electronic cigarettes in early September this year.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took that move after her leading health executive noted that vaping among millennials has some form of threat to public health.

Soon after, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said his state would follow suit. And who knows which other state will do the same with the increasing public safety concerns?

Two weeks ago, Wisconsin police publicized the arrest linked to a drug fraud where suspects were accused of filling 3K to 5K illicit THC vaping cartridges per day for over two years. Furthermore, the filled vaporizers were 157 times the THC potency on the label, according to ABC News. But itis not clear whether the vaporizers were tied to any health conditions or not.

States aside, vaping-triggered lung health conditions and deaths have been raising concerns at national level.

Speaking in a Whitehouse media briefing, after vaping-caused lung conditions claimed the life of the 6th US citizen, President Trump said his government will “take action.”

In particular, Trump said his administration will lay down a set of stringent policies and regulations.

It has been blow after blow for the electronic cigarette merchants as government supervisory bodies from all corners of the nation gang up to address the deaths.

After President Trumps briefing, the next big announcement came from the office of the administrator of Health and Human Services. Alex Azar mentioned a proposal to temporarily enforce the prohibition of all flavored e-cigarettes until the Food & Drug Administration concludes its official analysis in May next year.

No Conclusive Research to Backup Claims

All this mayhem continues even in the absence of no long-term statistics on the impacts of vaping on health.

One would think that the linking of vaping to lung conditions is an entirely new discovery, but medical experts have been looking into the matter for some time for years.

Some reports date back to 2014, however, the latest full report on vaping-caused lung disease show there’s a notable rise in the number of sick people from June.

Figures from the report suggest the per-month rate of severe lung ailment observed in millennials admitted to emergency sections in Illinois has grown twofold put side by side with 2018’s findings. New York also recorded more cases of severe lung illness in millennials than last year.

The report indicated increases in June and triggered word from the Center for Disease Control CDC.

One speculation was that there may be a new element or an alteration in the contents of the THC oil blamed for the increase in vaping-linked health conditions.

The Food & Drug Administration hasn’t narrowed down to one cause of the diseases mentioned the presence of traces of Vitamin E Acetate in the THC-based vaporizers from NY.

Though not any of the NY vaporizers were bought from legitimate marijuana dispensaries, on person allegedly lost his life in Oregon because of a vaporizer bought from a cannabis dealer.

The majority of the cases involved vaping THC, while only a few of the cases were linked to exclusive vaping of nicotine.

A persuasive theory backed by studies is that vaping cigarettes with nicotine, its flavors and solvents— though not a direct cause of serious lung conditions— can contribute significantly to severe lung damage.

So the bottom line is; using vapes can worsen the swelling triggered by THC-based oil.

Another theory is that the THC-based oil could be on its own responsible for the severe swelling of the lungs.

The question is how the THC-based oil is leading to lung damage. This is a good point to start and try to learn what we don’t know from well known facts.

In an attempt to solve this nation-wide public health puzzle, we sampled some of the possible explanations according to experts from West Virginia University about the increasing cases of vaping-linked diseases and deaths.

Exploring Possible Causes

The rest of this write-up will explore the link between vaping and lung conditions from a medical perspective.

  1. Oils or Lipids in the Lung

According to a pulmonary health experts for West Virginia University, oily conditions have a host of negative effects to the human lungs.

The professional referred to a case four years ago when a 30-year-old female reported to a healthcare facility with breathing difficulty. Doctors say symptoms resembled pneumonia but a test for the same came out negative.

Samples of cells from her lungs showed many cells contained an oil-based substances. These new findings then led the suspicions and medical suggested relationship between the oily substances she used to vape to lung conditions.

The explanation was that when liquids in the vaporizer and glycerol-based solvents and other oil-based flavorings are heated and undergo cooling, the resulting drippings can interfere with the normal lung function.

Lungs are sensitive to these drippings as well as other chemicals. As a result, it treats them like strange materials and reacts by triggering the immune response to fight these leading to the swelling.

The female was in the end diagnosed with lipoid pneumonia which an illness common in people of age who breath in oils by accident. The condition is not associated to smoking in any way.  

The conclusion was that the millennial age female would have not developed the disease through any other means except from vaping of electronic cigarettes which she had admitted to.

  • Swollen Lungs

The lung can react to nearly any new or foreign material other than fresh air. Many chemicals could trigger the swelling of lungs, nicotine included, according to pulmonary experts from West Virginia.

Any irritation to the lung triggers the production of immune cells. In a normal situation, these cells help the body combat disease-causing pathogens, but in the absence of an infection, it can lead to the swelling of the lung tissue.

A physician will diagnose a patient swollen lungs if they notice a buildup of these cells known as eosinophils and neutrophils in the organ.

For a conclusive finding, a patient must have a camera implanted in their lungs. But in many cases of vaping-triggered swollen lungs, victims were too ill to endure the medical procedure.

  • Seepage into Lungs

Too much swelling allows fluids to seep into a victim’s lungs interfering with their oxygen transportation capabilities.

Studies show that almost a third of victims found with these lung conditions required the assistance of breathing pipes.

Extreme conditions called for a sophisticated procedure that involves eliminating oxygen deficient blood and passing it via a super-oxygenating clinical gadget for oxygen supply before channeling it back to the body.

  • Blood in the Lungs

When the swelling advances from the tissue of the lung to the blood vessels supplying the lung then a patient may experience blood flow into the lungs.

Patients experiencing bleeding into their lungs often experience bloody coughs and find it harder to inhale and exhale. Three years ago, doctors found a vaping patient with this condition.

Control and Long-term Outlook

Control of these condition involves administering steroid to minimize swelling.

Persistent symptoms of swelling can cause scarring of the lung, leading to chronic breathing complications.

One research shows that the solvents used almost globally in e-cigarette juices like propylene glycol and glycerol may also have health-damaging effects on other important body parts. The heart, liver and kidney were mentioned in the study

While all eyes are on the lungs at the moment, we may in future realize that these substances have adverse health consequences on many other body organs.

Vapers must now watch out for signs like chronic coughing, difficulty breathing and prolonged fever. Always visit a doctor if you experience any of the above signs.

Again, we can’t wrap up without insisting on the importance of trying to quit smoking cigarettes and living a healthy life. If you choose to try, ask your rehabilitation doctor to recommend the relevant treatments.

Closing Up

For now, Americans must accept the above research-backed explanations linking e-cigarettes to lung conditions.

All these explanations pile up to convince vapers of the possible negative effects of vaping on lung health.

With four connected explanations trying to justify this link, users must now watch out for any symptoms discussed above.

Plus, we’ve been warned of the possibility of the harmful effect of these substances on other organs of the body.