Vaping Linked to Deadly Disease


Danie Way, Reporter

As the death toll of the vaping illness rises to 13 deaths and 805 identified cases within 38 states and U.S. territories, there are still six potentially toxic compound substances that could be the culprit.

E-cigarettes were initially intended to assist smokers quitting traditional cigarettes. However, the appealing flavors and stigma that vaping is “cool” has lead minors and young adults to become addicted to this detrimental fad. Now, otherwise healthy teens and young adults are falling ill.

The only connection between these respiratory illnesses so far is the vaping of nicotine, THC and CBD. Some cases show high amounts of Vitamin E acetate while others do not. Heating coils within the pen may release metal particles that could be inhaled. Another approach is Hydrogen Cyanide mostly found within CBD cartridges. The FDA is currently trying to identify patterns by testing nicotine, additives, pesticides, opioids, toxins, and other substances.

The disease could possibly be a rare non contagious disease called Lipoid Pneumonia, which is when lipids or fatty substances enter the lungs. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, vomiting, and stomach pain.

A student at Glenwood Springs High School who has vaped for four years warns students not to give into peer pressure.

“Don’t start, it’s not worth it.”

He discusses how vaping has depleted his ability to complete physical activity and how the addiction controls his life.

“Tobacco manufacturers are in the business of removing your money and giving you something in return,” explains Paul Freeman, Principal at Glenwood Springs High School. “They are very expert in how to make that desirable.”

Freeman continues on how vaping has been marketed as a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes, but when you have nicotine you are still handling one of the most addictive drugs, no matter in what form.

“Judgement isn’t one of the great strengths of teenagers because biologically the part of the brain that handles judgement isn’t mature,” he states. “It’s almost inevitable that an adolescent will want to experiment.”

Glenwood Springs High School is making many efforts to limit the amount of vaping within the school premises and even outside.

“We make it a requirement for every student to take one semester of health education.”

Mr. Freeman also walks the hallways many times during the day randomly checking the boys bathrooms.

“Any student who is caught using or possessing paraphernalia in school is both going to be in trouble, but also receive help,” states Freeman. “When something is not allowed and everyone is looking out for it, it’s quite difficult to do.”

The CDC continues to warn people about the dangers of vaping and cautions them to avoid starting and for those who do to attempt to quit.

With the CEO of Juul, Kevin Burns, stepping down and advertisement of Juul being banned within the United States could hope for a reduction in teens and young adults vaping be on the horizon?