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More Than 20 People Have Been Hospitalized with Breathing Problems Linked to Vaping

Doctors are unclear on what exactly caused it.

The use of e-cigarettes, or “vaping“, has become hugely popular in recent years. But there’s little evidence around the long-term effects of vaping, causing many to question the potential health problems. These concerns are flaring up recently after 22 people have been hospitalized with vaping-related breathing issues.

The cases have appeared in the Midwest, with four reported in Minnesota, 12 in Wisconsin and six in Illinois. Doctors are unclear on what exactly is causing the breathing difficulty, but all patients reported vaping prior to hospitalization. After being initially treated for respiratory infection, the patients began to decline, some of which were placed in intensive care and needed breathing assistance.

“We know there are certain characteristics in common with these cases, but we have not been able to get to the bottom of exactly what aspect of the vaping habit or product or solvent or oil is causing the injury,” said Dr. Emily Chapman, chief medical officer for Children’s Minnesota, a pediatric health system headquartered in Minneapolis, told NBC News. 

The issue may very well stem from ingredients in vaping products since the Food and Drug Administration does not require e-cigarette manufacturers to list all of their ingredients. Patrick DeGrave, who’s brother Dylan Nelson is among the hospitalized, said Nelson bought his vape cartridge off the street, so it could have easily been tampered with. Another major concern is the impact vaping on teen lungs, which are not yet fully developed. Hopefully, the recent hospitalizations will encourage the FDA to enforce stricter policies surrounding vaping.