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  • Carol Williard

Vaping and Lung Problems: Part 3


There is an epidemic of teens with lung problems who vape. Here is a list of the types of lung problems that have been found recently, not only in adults but teens as well.


Popcorn lung Bronchiolitis Obliterans - (BO)

This is related to the use of diacetyl, a food additive. This additive was used originally to enhance the flavor of popcorn, but now it is used to enhance the flavors in the oily liquids that deliver the nicotine in e-cigarettes. Diacetyl damages the airways in the lungs. The symptoms are coughing, wheezing, chest pain and shortness of breath. There is not lasting treatment for this condition.


Lipoid Pneumonia

Unlike pneumonia that is caused by infection, this type of pneumonia is caused by the fatty acids that enter the lungs from the e-liquids in vapes. Symptoms are chronic cough, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood or blood-tinged mucus.


Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax or Collapsed Lung

This comes from tiny holes found in the lungs through which oxygen escapes. This is too often happening to our teens. Apparently this phenomenon can occur to mostly tall, thin adolescents who are undergoing a growth spurt, and most often there are no symptoms of rupture. But for teens who vape, ruptures in the air blister on the top of the lungs can occur that create tiny tears in the lungs. Symptoms are sharp chest or shoulder pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing. Depending on the severity, treatments range from oxygen, to a chest tube to drain the leaked oxygen, or surgery to repair the hole.


What makes these health problems all the more pernicious is that our teens do not even know they are hooked on nicotine by vaping. And they do not think they could possibly have a problem because of their age. “It can’t happen to me!” is the underlying thought for most kids who don’t feel they can live without their vape.


If you are concerned about the current and future health of our youth, please pass on this information to all stakholders who can support our kids getting free from their dependency on e-cigarettes. Gaining information and knowledge is the first step.


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