Troubling news from Wisconsin, where 8 teenagers were recently admitted to hospital with severe lung damage. The culprit? It's thought to be vaping.
According to CBS News, the teenagers ended up at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin with varied levels of severity in symptoms. These symptoms included shortness of breath, fatigue and severe coughing. All of them were admitted to hospital within the span of a month. Some of the kids affected needed help with breathing, and according to CBS News, also had weight loss from vomiting and diarrhea.
Health authorities are concerned about what caused this rash of illness in such a short timeframe. The kids mentioned TCH and nicotine products, but authorities are still not sure what exactly they had smoked to get this result.
Most of the kids were given steroid treatment and sent home, however one of the teens is still in the hospital.
E-cigarettes have become incredibly popular with teenagers, although it is against the law for people under 18 to purchase these products. Because many of these products can be bought online, it ends up being fairly easy for teenagers to get their hands on them.
E-cigarettes were marketed originally as a way to help people quit smoking. The way they work is by releasing a vapor by heating a liquid that can contain a variety of different substances, including nicotine. The person using the e-cigarette inhales the vapor, much like with a traditional cigarette. Using an e-cigarette is also referred to as "vaping", and vape pens can contain other substances, for example THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana).
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 2 million underage kids are vaping in the United States. The long term effects of vaping are relatively unknown, since these are fairly recent inventions. According to information released by the CDC, adults are less likely to vape than younger kids. They also state that:
In 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including 4.9% of middle school students and 20.8% of high school students
For this reason, it's incredibly important to talk to your kids about the dangers of vaping.