Vaping linked to 12 deaths in U.S.

After 100 reports of vape-related hospitalization cases and two deaths in California, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued an advisory urging the public to “refrain from vaping, no matter the substance or source until current investigations are complete.” 

The warning was issued Sept. 24, after 90 cases were reported. In the span of a week, 10 more cases of severe breathing problems and vape-related lung damage cases were reported. The CDPH has confirmed that more than half of the cases came from teenagers and young adults. 

This statewide warning comes after an outbreak of vape-related lung disease cases occurring across the country. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of Sept. 24, there have been 805 confirmed cases of lung injuries in the U.S. linked to vape use and 12 deaths in 10 states.

Michigan was the first state to issue a statewide ban on the sale of flavored vape products, with New York and Rhode Island following soon after.

Students at Cal Poly Pomona understand the numerous health risks associated with vaping, but do not believe bans will solve the countrywide vape epidemic. Some students interviewed refused to give their full name for private reasons. 

“If health is the issue, they should make regulations,” said Drew, a sixth-year graphic design student, in response to the state bans on vapes. 

More than half of the reported vape-related cases have come from teenagers and young adults.
(Courtesy of Brandon Chang)

“(Banning vapes) is like telling a kid not to do something. They’re only going (to want) to do it more,” Sylvester, a sixth-year chemical engineering student, said in opposition to banning vapes.

“Banning is never the answer,” Sylvester said. “It just encourages black market and creates an environment for more unhealthy products to exist.”

For California, the investigation into whether or not the cases have been linked to a specific product is still ongoing. The CDPH said that it cannot attribute the cases to anything in particular yet. 

However, “most patients recently vaped cannabis products, some of whom stated that the vaping products were sold by unlicensed, unregulated entities such as street vendors or pop-up shop(s),” CDPH wrote in an email to The Poly Post.

The exact reason many people are experiencing lung damage from these products remains unclear. The CDPH’s health warning explained that “there are many ingredients added to cannabis and nicotine to make the cartridges, waxes and oils for vaping.” 

Users who purchase a vape from an unlicensed vendor may be unknowingly inhaling unidentified, harmful ingredients. 

On Sept. 16, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring the CDPH to allocate at least $20 million for a vaping awareness campaign targeting youth, parents and young adults. 

The order also lists plans to prevent more sales of illicit vape products through uniform packaging and an increase of warning signs at vape retailers. 

After reaching out to the Student Health and Wellness Services, they advised students to “quit or limit vaping use.” 

The Student Health and Wellness Center also explained that the nicotine in vapes can affect students’ education greatly. Even if one is not experiencing immediate health issues, the center advises seeking help to quit vaping. 

“Nicotine is a highly addictive drug,” the team in the Student Health and Wellness Services wrote to the Poly Post. “(It) can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control.”

If you suspect a nicotine addiction, call (909)-869-5272 to schedule a one-on-one appointment with a health educator from Student Health & Wellness Services.

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