Vaping Land Teens in ICU

Claire Benson, Lifestyles Editor

The vaping epidemic is not one that has surpassed the youth in America. According to a newsletter published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there was a startling amount of teenagers who used an e-cigarette in the last year. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual National Youth Tobacco Survey, about 27.5% of high schoolers vaped in late 2019.

This figure is especially surprising in light of the recent growth of  hospitalizations due to vape-related illness. These hospital stories have been widely reported, and it has become clear that not only are teenagers at risk of contracting illnesses due to vaping habits, but they are also at risk for other issues that get less attention by the mainstream media. 

“Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain,” the Center for Disease Control reported. “The brain keeps developing until about age 25. Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.”

These are serious concerns about vaping, but the trending hospitalizations have resulted from more imminent threats to health such as respiratory and lung illness. 

“As of January 7, 2020, a total of 2,602 hospitalized e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury …  cases or deaths have been reported to CDC,” the CDC said. 

These illnesses are serious, and often return even after a person believes that they have overcome the illness. 

According to NPR, the initial symptoms are often trouble breathing, low blood-oxygen levels, comas, and more. The CDC has classified these outbreaks as “a cluster of pulmonary illnesses.” 

Patients with these symptoms are people who have a history of vaping, but this is not the only population being affected the e-cigarette epidemic. New research has proven that e-cigarettes have become an issue for people that are around them as well. 

Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes,” the CDC said in a recent article on the risks of e-cigarettes. “Nationally, approximately 50% of calls to poison control centers for e-cigarettes are for kids 5 years of age or younger.”

This shocking statistic illustrates how pervasive this issue has become in America. Not only those who vape are being affected by this epidemic, but bystanders are as well. 

The vaping crisis is not one that can be solved quickly or easily, but it has become an increasingly imminent threat to youth in America that have become addicted and those around them. Recent hospitalization stories have proved that there is an issue in America in the level of misinformation and ignorance surrounding e-cigarettes.