CDC urges Americans to stop vaping as they investigate related lung illnesses

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The CDC has urged Americans to stop vaping as they investigate hundreds of possible vaping-related lung illnesses resulting in five deaths.

In California, there have been 36 cases of the illness.

While most of those with the illness say they vape THC or CBD, there is a small percentage reporting they vape nicotine.

Dr. Mickey Sachdeva, a Pumlmonolgist at Kaiser Permanente in Fresno, said the effects of vaping are different than smoking but, at this point, it's just as dangerous.

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The FDA recently blasted JUUL for claims that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking, even though vaping products have not been federally reviewed to be less harmful than traditional tobacco.

"It's worrisome that people continue to vape and we are continuing to have more and more cases as time progresses," Dr. Sachdeva said.

So far, Dr. Sachdeva has treated two patients in their thirties and forties with vaping induced lung disease. He said one vaped THC and the other CBD.

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"It's really scary. I've seen a couple of cases, myself, these last couple of weeks at Kaiser. Luckily we were able to early recognize them early and treat them early. They did well," he said.

According to the Fresno County Department of Public Health, there are a total of four cases in the county with most of them being young adults.
Dr. Sachdeva said it's hard to pinpoint what exactly is causing these issues as there are over 100 different possibilities.

"The vape is all these chemicals put together being vaporized in a moisture in which we inhale and they contain a lot of toxic compounds to the lungs that we are still analyzing, the FDA is still analyzing to figure out which one of these chemicals can be toxic and links to lung disease," he said.

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Those who got sick have flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath, fatigue and coughing.

As for their lungs, the effects of vaping are different than traditional smoking.

"Vaping causes massive inflammatory response, all of a sudden, like an allergic response you can say that really lead to diffuse lung disease," Dr. Sachdeva said.

County officials are now urging all providers to report any suspected cases and reminding them to ask the question if their patients vape so they can collect information on vaping habits and products they used.
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