Outbreak of pulmonary diseases linked to vapingBMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5445 (Published 10 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5445
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We read with great interest and welcome the important points raised in the article by Professor David Hammond whereby he discussed the recent surge in cases of pulmonary diseases associated with vaping across states in the US.
He raises an important warning for the risks of vaping and the current unregulated nature of the industry in the US. The fact vaping is often seen as the “safer” alternative to smoking cigarettes is the apparent status quo.
However, the makers of vape juices are marketing these products in such a way that there is a greater appeal to teenagers and young adults. Probably, more so than cigarettes. Although not directly marketed to children and adolescents they do make up a considerable proportion of users. The effects on the use of these products on developing lungs is particularly poorly understood. There needs to be robust regulation, to help prevent future pulmonary complications in young users of these products.
The products used as flavours are often safe for human consumption via ingestion, but the effects of these products in inhaled form is poorly understood and could pose unknown long term risks particularly in younger users. This has been mentioned in the article with regards to inhaling vitamin E when compared to topically applied products on the skin.
With no definite safety tests done on the effects of inhaling many of the flavouring ingredients used in these products, it could be potentially damaging young developing lungs and the effects of this consumption may take years to come to a realisation. Are we awaiting a tsunami of pulmonary conditions in our children in the future?
Competing interests: No competing interests