88ºF

Vaping proving not to be 'safer' alternative to smoking, expert says

Respiratory specialist says spike in lung disease cases shows dangers of vaping

photo

In recent weeks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with many state and local health departments, have issued warnings regarding the use of electronic cigarettes.

Health officials say a recent multi-state outbreak of severe lung disease has prompted them to urge people to stop vaping.

According to the CDC, more than 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with vaping products have been reported in more than 30 states.

Five deaths have been attributed to lung injury as a result of vaping.

Dr. Humberto Choi, a respiratory physician at Cleveland Clinic, said doctors are seeing many people coming in with respiratory symptoms that range from chronic coughing to severe lung illness.

“Teenagers and young adults are presenting with a cough and a shortness of breath, and with lung disease that is severe enough to put them in the hospital -- some of them even needed to be in the ICU, and on ventilators,” he said.

Choi said symptoms of lung injury from vaping include a cough and shortness of breath and recommends anyone experiencing these problems after vaping should seek medical care.

The CDC warns electronic cigarettes should never be used by children, young adults, or women who are pregnant.

They are also urging people who are current smokers to seek the help of a doctor, and use evidence-based treatments, such as FDA approved medications, to help them quit smoking, instead of turning to electronic cigarettes.

While the federal investigation is ongoing, the CDC is telling people to consider not using any electronic cigarette products -- and Choi agrees.

He said millions of people are vaping, and while the idea of vaping has been traditionally marketed as a "safer" alternative to cigarette smoking, we’re seeing now, that this isn’t true.

“We are seeing so many people sick with severe lung injury from vaping that the best message is just to stop,” Choi said.