Vaping Can Lead To PERMANENT Lung Damage

I used to say that I’d rather my patients who smoke go to e-cigarettes. Now, I’m not so sure.

The Doctor Is In
Sep 21 · 3 min read
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chest_Xray_PA_3-8-2010.png

This is a full-blown health crisis.

I am trying not to be an alarmist about this. At the same time, more and more people — especially young, otherwise healthy people — are getting sick with mysterious lung illnesses (one of whom, in fact, was treated by colleagues of mine) from vaping. According to the CDC, there have been 530 cases and counting. The death toll has risen to 8. Eight people have died.

We at CDC are very concerned about the occurrence of life-threatening illness in otherwise healthy, young people. States continue to get new cases reported.

That was according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, Deputy Director of the CDC. The FDA is also investigating and is in “desperate need for facts.” The situation has gotten so significant that Walmart has decided to halt the sale of e-cigarettes, and I commend Walmart for its action.

The exact cause is still unknown, but the most likely cause for these lung illnesses is that all of the chemicals and oils that are inhaled into the lungs from e-cigarettes are causing an intense inflammatory reaction in the lungs. What happens in the lungs is this: cells, fluid, and other lung debris fill the air spaces and make it difficult to breathe and cause the levels of oxygen in the blood to go dangerously low.

The intense inflammatory reaction cause the lungs to fill with cells, fluid, and debris, making it hard to breathe. (Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ARDSSevere.png)

If the oxygen levels get too low, you may need a ventilator or even more advanced medical equipment to help you breathe and keep the oxygen levels normal. If, despite all those treatments, the oxygen levels continue to be low, you can die. You. Can. Die.

Now, most of those who are sickened get better with treatment, thank God. That said, in many cases — and it is not known who will get this and who will not — the inflammatory reaction can lead to scarring in the lungs. THIS SCARRING IS PERMANENT.

It is like a scar on your skin after a bad cut. It never goes away. Well, the same sort of thing happens in the lungs, and if the scarring is extensive, it can cause permanent damage to the lungs and can impair lung function….forever. This can cause you to have difficulty breathing for the rest of your life.

I used to say that I’d rather my patients who smoke go to e-cigarettes. Now, I’m not so sure..

This is no joke, folks. Vaping can cause serious lung damage. I urge everyone who is using e-cigarettes to stop. I have said this before, and I will say this again: the lungs are beautiful, exquisite organs. They help keep you alive by bringing life-saving oxygen from the air into the body.

And, the only thing the lungs were designed to process is air. Everything else we inhale into them can cause damage. And, as we are seeing with the ever-growing vaping crisis, people can die.

The opinions expressed in this blog are my own and are not reflective of those of my employer or any institution with which I am affiliated.

The Doctor Is In

Written by

Thoughts of Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa, a Critical Care specialist and physician leader, author, and writer. His latest book is “Code Blue,” a medical thriller.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade