Community Issues

New Reports Link Teen Lung Disease to Vaping

Cases show that e-cigarettes are still accessible to teens, and are potentially dangerous.


There is troubling new evidence linking lung disease in teenagers to vaping and e-cigarette use.

According to CBS This Morning, Minnesota is now the third state where serious lung injuries were reported in the last month. At least four cases involve patients at Children's Minnesota who range from 16 to 18 years old .

Dr. Emily Chapman, the chief medical officer at Children's, says doctors have seen a pattern in the cases. She told CBS that the teens had symptoms consistent with a viral or bacterial infection, but doctors determined their lungs had actually sustained some kind of "acute injury" and then the lungs began to fail. Some cases were so severe that teens had to be put on ventilators.

Dr. Chapman says that a common factor has not been determined, but the state Department of Health says, "Use of both nicotine and marijuana-based products were reported."

The American Vaping Association said in a statement, "With approximately ten million adults vaping nicotine each month without major issue, it appears much more likely that the products causing lung damage contain THC or illegal drugs, not nicotine."

These cases point to the difficulty in regulating the e-cigarette industry, even as Juul Labs has voluntarily complied with new FDA guidelines. Juul, the most popular e-cigarette brand, agreed to stop selling many of its flavored pods that critics said were targeted towards teens, rather than adult smokers. But the New York Times reports that there has been a groundswell of upstart competitors who have filled that void, offering flavors such as Strawberry Milk, Peach and Fruit Loops.

These "knock-off" brands even advertise that their nicotine pods are compatible with Juul vaping devices. Additionally, critics say Juul has not gone far enough in restricting youth access to their produces.

"If Juul's voluntary actions were working, youths would not still be using their products at epidemic rates," said Chris Bostic, deputy director for policy of Action on Smoking & Health. "We can't rely on the companies alone to self-regulate. That's where the government needs to step in."

For more information on vaping and resources to keep children from using nicotine, you can click here to visit Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes, or PAVE .

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