You’ve seen vaping in the headlines. Local pulmonologists share what you need to know

You’ve seen vaping in the headlines. Local pulmonologists share what you need to know

The vaping epidemic is causing a mysterious lung illness that has been named EVALI (E-cigarette or Vaping product use Associated Lung Injury). As of November 13, more than 2,172 cases of EVALI have been reported in the United States, and 42 of those have resulted in death.

All EVALI victims have used either nicotine or THC e-cigarette or vaping products. Recent testing from the CDC appears to show that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, but there is not enough evidence to rule out other chemicals yet.

E-cigarettes were touted by many as a “safer” option to traditional cigarettes, but there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to vaping.

“We don’t know what happens when all these chemicals are heated inside a vape pen and breathed into the lungs,” explained Dr. William Bowerfind, Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine Physician at The Oregon Clinic. “Cigarettes contain up to 600 different chemicals, but when you light a cigarette, you’re creating 6,000 to 7,000 different chemicals with that combustion – and about 60 to 70 of those chemicals are known carcinogens in human beings,” Dr. Bowerfind said. “It can be assumed that similar issues are taking place with different ingredients in electronic cigarettes.”

For those that aren’t yet smokers, steer clear.

“The key takeaway is: do not vape. Except for medication prescribed by your doctor, inhaling anything other than air into your lungs is a bad idea,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bluhm, Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine Physician at The Oregon Clinic.

For current smokers looking for a safe alternative, there are many proven methods to help quit.  Counseling from a medical provider coupled with nicotine replacement (patches, gum or lozenges), or other medications (such as Chantix or Zyban) can improve success in quitting tobacco.  Talk to your doctor about quitting and methods right for you.

For more information, visit us at www.oregonclinic.com or call 503-935-8000