Midlands expert says respiratory illness linked to vaping could be caused by ‘tainted products’

Midlands expert says respiratory illness linked to vaping could be caused by ‘tainted products’
Midlands expert says respiratory illness linked to vaping could be caused by ‘tainted products’ (Source: Miranda Parnell)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Some changes may be on the way to the US vaping industry, and experts say, that’s largely because of two things…

“The epidemic of vaping among youth, and then this outbreak of serious respiratory disease that’s taking place at the current time,” Anthony Alberg, Ph.D., the chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Bio Statistics at the University of South Carolina.

Alberg says that the seven known recent deaths and hundreds of reported respiratory illnesses linked to vaping could be caused by a faulty product.

“Evidence would suggest that it’s tainted products in something new, because we haven’t seen this lung disease before, and it’s, so far, contained to the United States,” he said. “We’re not seeing it internationally.”

Many traditional cigarette smokers turned to e-cigarettes as a way to help curb their nicotine addiction. Alberg says, e-cigarettes have been known to help those users, but the latest concern is that the flavored e-cigarette vapors are introducing teenagers to smoking.

“There’s the potential benefit for helping addicted smokers to quit smoking, but there’s no doubt that, for youth, it’s an unwise idea to ever start vaping because there are these health risks,” Alberg said. “We don’t even know the full extent of the health risks, of what the long-term health effects are.”

Alberg says, the common denominator in this recent outbreak of illness could be due to a bad product, unsafe production, or other factors, but for now, he’s just advising users to play it safe.

“It’s certainly quite alarming,” he said. “I think that not using any of these products in the short-term is a good idea.”

On the CDC’s website, researchers have recommended that consumers who are concerned about these health risks stop using an e-cigarette or vaping products while their investigation is ongoing.

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