Vaping-related lung illnesses have afflicted more than 450 patients and been linked to six fatalities. The AOA recently issued the following statement calling for greater regulation of e-cigarettes.
“Reports of recent deaths related to vaping and e-cigarettes constitute a public health crisis—particularly for adolescents and young adults. The AOA calls upon the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to take immediate action to make young people aware of the risks associated with these products.
‘Vaping materials were targeted to vulnerable youth’
“The AOA is especially concerned that flavored vaping materials were targeted to vulnerable youth, some of whom would never have smoked a cigarette but lost their lives to vaping because they didn’t know it could quickly kill them or permanently damage their lungs. It is incumbent upon the government and health care professionals to drive awareness among users.
“The nation’s 145,000 osteopathic physicians and medical students encourage patients who have used e-cigarettes to contact their physician if they are experience coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, abdominal pain, fever or weight loss. DOs are encouraged to report new cases of lung disease that may be related to e-cigarette use and educate their patients about the potential for serious harm within hours, days or weeks of using an e-cigarette,” said AOA President Ronald Burns, DO.
Both THC- and nicotine-containing products implicated
The CDC advises people who use e-cigarette products to avoid buying them off the street and refrain from adding anything to them. E-cigarette products should never be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
“While many of the patients, but not all, reported recent use of THC-containing products, some reported using both THC- and nicotine-containing products. A smaller group reported using nicotine only,” a CDC press release stated.
Physicians are asked to report suspected vaping-related lung disease to their local or state health department. Reports of tobacco or vaping-related health issues can be sent via the Safety Reporting Portal.