WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — Vaping is related to lung injury and deaths in over 10 different states, according to the CDC' s most recent numbers.
"It is a problem for sure,' said Buffy Chapman, a COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] Nurse Navigator and Registered Respiratory Therapist at Lexington Medical Center. "I think we need to find out what is in these products and what's doing this damage, and I think we need to not use these products until we understand what is causing the issue."
The CDC is confirming there are now over 800 lung injury cases relating to people with a history of e-cigarette use or vaping: and a dozen deaths.
Buffy Chapman is a Registered Respiratory Therapist with Lexington Medical Center. She says despite some confusion dividing the medical community, one cause could be linked to the chemical Diacetyl.
Diacetyl is known to cause bronchio-litisobliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease: sometimes called "popcorn lung." Over a decade ago, workers in a microwave popcorn factory got sick from breathing in diacetyl, the buttery-flavored chemical in food, like popcorn.
The flavoring was linked to deaths and hundreds of lung injuries. the manufacturer removed diacetyl from its products.
No single product or substance has been linked to all lung injury, but in these cases, but the The American Lung Association attributes the Diacetyl lfound in some e cigarette flavorings.
"So they inhale the chemical during this process," Chapman said. "And the chemical scars the small airways and causes this phenomenon and the same chemical has been identified in many e cigarettes and we've seen the same kind of thing happen where the diacetyl has damaged those airways"
The CDC found young airways could be at greater risk: over 60 percent of patients are 18 to 34 years old.
If you use e cigarettes, these are common signs of lung damage:
- wheezing that is not related to another health condition, such as bronchitis or asthma
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- unexplained exhaustion
- coughing up blood , coughing up mucus
The CDC recommends kids and young adults not use e-cigarettes, or vaping, products. And lung therapists have a warning for adults too.
"Consider quitting," Chapman said. "You don't know when it's going to effect you, when you're gonna buy a product that has something in it to harm you.".