The debate about the safety of vaping has always been contentions, but now the New York Times reports the lung damage from vaping resembles chemical burns. On Wednesday, doctors at the Mayo Clinic reported that the lung damage in people who had become ill after vaping nicotine or marijuana products resembled chemical burns.
Samples were taken from 17 patients whose biopsy samples were sent to the famous clinic so they could be examined by lung pathology experts. Two of these samples were taken from people who died from their illness. Dr. Brandon T. Larsen, who is a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, said that the samples showed a pattern of injury that resembled toxic chemical exposure. They also looked like the injuries suffered from soldiers in World War I who were exposed to mustard gas.
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The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. 70% of the people sampled had a history of vaping cannabis products. There have been 800 cases of lung illness in 46 states related to vaping. The majority were vaping THC, but some say that they were vaping only nicotine.
Medical investigators have not been able to identify which chemicals are involved in the lung damage.
Vaping is a phenomenon that has taken on a life of its own. While sometimes used by adults to quit smoking regular cigarettes, it is being reported by the CDC that vaping use among teens who have never smoked is also on the rise. 4.9% of middle school students and 20.8% of high school students reported vaping in the past 30 days. 40% of current e-cigarette users aged 18-24 years have never reported smoking regular cigarettes. When it comes to adults, 58.8% of e-cigarette users were current smokers. 29.8% were former smokers. 11.4% had never smoked regular cigarettes.