America's mysterious vaping scare continues to get worse.
Investigators are focusing on marijuana-derived THC in the Minnesota cases of teens and young adults who developed vaping-related lung illnesses this summer.
The state hasn't yet said whether the substances being vaped were tobacco or THC -tetrahydrocannabinol - the marijuana ingredient that creates a "high".
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton has said that e-cigarette aerosols can contain cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead, volatile organic compounds, ultrafine particles that can reach deep into lungs and flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease.
"At this time, there does not appear to be one product involved in all of the cases, although THC and cannabinoids use has been reported in many cases".
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And how is vaping affecting young people, many of whom don't see it as a health risk until it's too late? The state's report coincides with national reporting, and warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that vaping and e-cigarettes are far from harmless. Symptoms of the disease include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. "One common factor, however, was the use of an e-cigarette device".
According to a release from the Ohio Department of Health, health care providers in Ohio and others are now being asked to report cases of severe lung illness where the cause is unknown and the patient has a history of using e-cigs/vaping to the CDC. The CDC declined to confirm the number of additional reports.
The state has resources for people who want to quit smoking and vaping at the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line: 1-800-QUIT-NOW. He also criticized health officials and the media for conflating the issues.
Seek medical attention if you develop symptoms and be sure to notify the doctor about your e-cigarette use.
"We desperately need the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) to exercise its authority to regulate e-cigarettes comprehensively", said Kevin Schroth, a member of Rutgers' Center for Tobacco Studies, noting that the devices have been in use for a dozen years and the FDA has had the authority to regulate them for a decade.