Tag: Vape Series

Vaping increasing in popularity with teens

by Victoria De Souza

The increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes among teenagers is a result of the easy access and targeting a young audience in the promotion of vape products.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly two in five students in 12th grade report vaping within the past year. This has been raising concerns about the impact on vaping on brain health and the potential for addiction in teenagers.

The use of e-cigarettes by teens has been increasing for the past few years. In 2016, the NIDA released data showing that teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than cigarettes.

In 2018, research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that an estimated 3.6 million adolescents were using e-cigarettes.

With the e-cigarettes companies, such as eCigs and JUUL, targeting teens and young adults with frequent appearances of the products on social media, that impact has been increasing sales of the products and inducing people to become consumers. In 2015, JUUL spent more than $1 million in promoting their product on social media.

The rising number of hospitalizations related to e-cigarettes has been pushing lawmakers to step up to change regulations for the production of e-cigarettes and how they can be obtained.

The Texas Medical Association has confirmed more than 70 cases of vaping-related illnesses in the state of Texas. Nationally, there have been more than 800 reported cases and 11 deaths in 45 other states. The state of Texas enacted legislation to increase the minimum age to purchase electronic cigarettes to 21 on Sept. 1 of this year.

The first death in the state related to vaping was reported by the Texas Department of Health Services on Oct. 8.

Around 20 percent of high school students in 2018 consume e-cigarettes, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey.

Richard Winslow (not his real name) is an 18-year-old high school student in the Levelland area who said experimenting with vaping was a means of escape.

“I started vaping a year ago,” recalled Winslow. “I was in a dark place. I used my sister’s vape. I could say I started to feel the need to continue using it to feel good and feel something new.”

Gabriel Regnedel (not his real name), another high school student from the Levelland area, explained how curiosity lead him into the habit of vaping.

“I was hanging out with my junior buddies when I was a freshman,” recalled Regnedel. “They had vapes, and I tried it, and it was a shocking experience. It was very flavorful.”

Richie Hook (not his real name), another student from the Levelland area, said he used e-cigarettes for two months as a casual thing to do that did not last.

“I was honestly interested in it because of all the tricks that I saw people doing with the vapor,” said Hook. “But then I realized that I was not getting nothing out of that besides losing my money.”

Winslow, Regnedel, and Hook each said that although they are younger than the minimum age to purchase e-cigarettes, it is easy to obtain the product. Almost any person they ask buys it for them.

According to NIDA, teens who consume e-cigarettes are 30.7 percent more likely to start smoking tobacco products, while there is only an 8.1 percent chance of a non-user starting to smoke.

Regnedel mentioned that a couple of months ago he consumed tobacco cigarettes, but said that being a user of e-cigarettes did not lead him to cigarettes.

“I don’t believe that vape lead me to try cigarettes, because I always vaped, but I never was bothered by the smoke of cigarettes,” said Regnedel. “My dad was a smoker for all of his life and passed away from lung and liver cancer.”

Recent media reports about how unsafe using e-cigarettes may be are causing some users to reconsider their actions.

“Vaping, in general, doesn’t concern me,” said Regnedel. “I believe the danger is on the THC-based vapes.”

Winslow, who has been vaping for a year, said that after seeing the news about e-cigarettes, he started to be concerned about how vaping could lead him to have issues with his lungs.

DeEtte Edens, associate director of Health and Wellness on the Levelland campus of South Plains College, reports that the number of students presenting symptoms of vaping-related issues has been increasing on campus.

“We have an increase in the number of students that have been seen for upper respiratory issues that are also users of vape,” said Edens, “and, unfortunately, some of them have been presenting strong side effects.”

Jayden McDaniel is a 19-year-old SPC student who has been vaping for two and a half years.

McDaniel mentioned that his usage of e-cigarettes, THC-based and regular vapes, started as a habit to help him deal with his issues with stress and anxiety in high school.

“It was always available to me, so I just kept using for the nicotine,” said McDaniel. “I tried THC vapes, and they made me feel better, but I did not enjoy the taste.”

The lack of regulation for e-cigarettes based in THC has been brought to the attention by the public, since the use of cannabis products are prohibited by federal law. But they are being produced on the black market.

“These products have no regulation by the Food and Drug Administration regulations,” said Edens, “and there is no knowledge of what kind of chemicals are being mixed and later being inhaled by the consumers.”

Consumers of e-cigarettes, whether THC-based or not, say that vaping has brought them judgements from others who may not have consumed or do not have knowledge of what it is.

Consuming e-cigarettes is not safe and must be stopped immediately, according to the FDA.

Effects of vaping increasing in young adults

by Victoria De Souza

E-cigarettes may be a possible risk for some new lung illnesses, but the actual cause of these diseases still remains unknown.

With reports of hospitalizations related to vaping, doctors and scientists are scrambling to find the cause.

In the early 1800s, tobacco was one of the most popular vices. Now, in the 21st century, new tobaccoless devices are gaining attention for presenting a negative impact on health.

The marketing of addictions is one of the most lucrative, with around $9.36 billion of profit made in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Even though the first attempts of inventing a smokeless, non-tobacco cigarette started in 1963, they became popular around the mid-2000s.

In 2011, after the invention of the first-modern e-cigarette, the use of an electronic cigarette became part of the mass market in the United States.

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol vapor produced by the e-liquids. Most of the e-cigarettes contain glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and different flavoring liquids.

While there is uncertainty surrounding any health benefit from vaping, e-cigarettes have been promoted as safer substitutes for tobacco. But there has been some concern about manufacturers targeting young adults and teenagers as their main consumers.man holding a vape pen and cigarettes

With nine confirmed deaths and more than 300 people hospitalized as a result of vaping, the rising visibility of the effects of vaping is causing the health community to question the safety standards of vape consumption and production.

Dr. Ximera Solis, a fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, said little is known about the effects of vaping.

“The fact is that we do not know much about the effects of vaping on long-term and short-term health,” said Dr. Solis. “As far as I know, there is no regulation on these products by the FDA, and a lot of these products are bought from less than credible sources.”

The CDC has issued a warning about the dangers of vaping and recommends that people stop using this product.

Since vaping only has been around for a short period, there is no research on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes.

“Most of the research now is focused on pathophysiology and learning more about vaping in general,” said Dr. Solis.

E-cigarettes can be helpful to ease the process of quitting the consumption of tobacco cigarettes.

“The only ‘advantage’ (to smoking e-cigarettes) is that it does help some people quit smoking regular cigarettes,” said Dr. Solis, “and they can lower the nicotine content over time to wean themselves off this.”

One of the side effects brought about by the use of e-cigarettes is the new development of a lung disease. So far, the CDC has not been able to identify any specific substance that could be the cause of this illness. But it is known that nicotine can cause very damaging effects to the lungs.

One questionable substance that can be found in the e-cigarettes that has come to the attention of medical specialists is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can be found in a variety of e-liquids that can be counterfeited without proper regulation.

The lack of information known about the development of this new illness makes it difficult for medical professionals to provide the correct treatment to be given to the patients.

“What we do know is that the patients become ill very quickly,” explained Dr. Solis. “What is important to realize is that this is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that we have to rule out other causes that could explain this symptomatology. Each patient must be treated on a case by case basis. What we do see is that patients have required admission to the intensive care unit, intubation and mechanical ventilation, and even chest tubes for pneumothorax (air in the chest wall from a collapsed lung).”

Dr. Ebtesam Islam from the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine of TTU Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, explained the inflammation in most of the cases is severe and diffuse, affecting both lungs.lungs this one

“It is suspected that the formation of an aerosol (i.e. the combustion of the flavoring, nicotine, and other chemicals) causes stress on respiratory epithelial cells by inducing inflammation,” said Dr. Islam. “What we see on imaging, such as Computed Tomography scans or chest x rays, are signs of severe inflammation, like what we would see with infectious processes.”

Dr. Solis mentions the present symptoms are nonspecific for any respiratory illness, such as coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.

The repercussions of e-cigarettes have been rising, along with lung disease cases. The symptoms of these cases do not match those of cigarette smoking and highlight an entirely new disease.

“Cigarettes tend to cause damage over time, leading to a chronic illness such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or Emphysema and takes years to develop,” explained Dr. Islam. “Vaping incidents that are being reported now suggest an acuity to the illness. The time to illness from exposure has varied from days to weeks. With vaping, over two thirds of the patients have been young, between the ages of 18 to 34, and otherwise healthy, and the opposite tends to be true for those with chronic pulmonary disease.”

A focus on treating current cases and the causes of the e-cigarette illness will be the main priority of future research, according to Dr. Solis.

Both Dr. Solis and Dr. Islam agree that vaping should not be taken lightly, and avoiding the usage of e-cigarettes is the safer way until there is more information about the subject.

“These otherwise healthy young adults can present in critical condition, requiring prolonged and repeated intubations,” said Dr. Solis. “Since not much is known about how well these patients would recover, the effects from this illness can be damaging and life-long.”