Respiratory Problems from Vaping Marijuana and Nicotine E-Cigarettes Cause Alarm in Multiple States

Nearly three dozen teenagers and young adults in several different states have experienced severe respiratory problems after vaping with various different e-cigarette products, including those that deliver either marijuana or nicotine, leading health officials to launch a multi-state investigation.

State departments of health in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota are now investigating the series of unexplained toxic-like respiratory illnesses linked to vaping. According to a report in the New York Times, the problems are believed to be related to the inhalation of certain e-liquid chemical compounds.

Public health warnings have been launched in each of these states, as officials continue to investigate the cause of the severe respiratory problems from vaping marijuana or nicotine cigarettes.

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The Minnesota Department of Health issued the latest warning on August 13, indicating that at least four teenagers in the state have been admitted to Children’s Minnesota Hospital within the last several weeks, with complaints of extreme breathing difficulties and lung impairment. All four patients were reportedly admitted to the hospital for a week or longer, while one patient had to be treated in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Officials say all four teens reported using e-cigarette or vaping devices prior to the illness onset, with some reporting they had used a T.H.C. laced vaping liquid, which is the ingredient that produces marijuana’s high.

Similarly, Wisconsin and Illinois have jointly received an additional 18 lung injury cases. Patients reported suffering from swelling and inflammation of the lungs, fever, nausea, and chest pain. Investigators say the victims were generally recognized as healthy, however, all of the patients have self-reported using vaping products routinely prior to the respiratory complications.

Across Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and California, at least another 20 additional emergency room admissions are actively being investigated for suspected vaping-related respiratory injuries. Preliminary information has indicated all of these cases involved young patients having difficulty breathing when they arrived at the hospital, while some reported chest pain, vomiting, and other respiratory ailments, according to The New York Times.

Doctors at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital say they suspected the patients were suffering from an infectious disease upon first review. However, the patients’ failure to respond to antibiotics led the doctors to believe they were experiencing toxic substance exposure.

Wisconsin health officials indicate patients reported using open-tank vaping systems which could have been refilled with vaping liquid mixtures or products acquired outside of licensed retailers.

State officials from Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota have started actively investigating the cause of the respiratory illnesses and have begun collecting patient e-cigarette products and liquids to determine the source of the problem.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, as of July 31, 2019, poison control centers have managed 2,439 exposure cases about e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine in 2019.

A stream of additional studies published over the last few years have linked e-cigarette use to seizurespneumoniafungal infections of the lungs, and respiratory health risks, among many other adverse health effects.

The warnings come amid a growing number of JUUL vaping lawsuits filed by young adults, teenagers and parents, claiming that the manufacturer of the most popular form of e-cigarette targeted their addictive product toward teens and withheld important safety warnings about the risk of respiratory problems, pneumonia, seizures, addiction and other complications.


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