Humanosity says…As someone who has been trying to quit smoking by going down the vaping route – the reports of deaths and illnesses are very worrying so I thought I’d share this article which looks at the issue of the outbreak of vaping linked illnesses scientifically…
According to an investigation by state health departments in Illinois and Wisconsin, the first signs of illness appeared in patients around April in 2019. Most of the victims seem to be young men and the majority ended up being hospitalised, many in intensive care and a third of these patients required ventilators.
The symptoms they reported included coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath before their health deteriorated. Other reported symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, fever and weight loss. These symptoms progressed to the point where the person needed to be hospitalised.
Identifying the Cause
As things stand investigators are still unsure as to the exact culprit but their suspicions are that there’s a particular oil derived from vitamin E that is found in marijuana-based products used by many people who became sick.
However, caution must be exercised as not everyone who has fallen ill or died had consumed the same products.
According to Science Alert, “Officials add that there are no particular vaping devices or products linked to all cases and are looking into potential contamination or counterfeit, as many victims report buying marijuana on the street rather than from a store”.
According to reporting in Nature.com the initial studies that looked at the vitamin E derived oil didn’t find any evidence to substantiate this. However, the research has drawn a lot of criticisms. The more that researchers look into this the greater the number of possible suspects.
More immediately, researchers are scrambling to categorize the chemicals contained in e-cigarettes. That is no simple task when there are thousands of products available, and a culture of users modifying e-cigarettes and their contents to change characteristics such as flavour or amount of vapour produced.
Mignonne Guy from the Virginia Commonwealth University looked at YouTube videos to see how users were modifying their vapes and the liquids they vaped to get a sense of the scale of the problem.
Her laboratory found that vapers are altering everything from how hot their e-cigarettes get to what chemicals are included in vaping cartridges — including, in at least one instance, liquid Viagra.
One epidemiologist has found a spike in illnesses that is related to an early 2019 post on how to make e-cigarette cartridges. However, the sad news is that health officials may never be able to give a definite answer but that narrowing down the possible causes could help bring the outbreak under control.