Today, the third Thursday of November, is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. Today, smokers all over the nation are taking up the challenge to give up cigarettes for 24 hours. We encourage e-cigarette users to do the same.
A tragic story is hitting the airways today with new evidence possibly connecting vaping with popcorn lung. A previously healthy 17-year-old nearly died of it after using flavored e-cigarettes for about five months. Popcorn lung is a disease usually associated with microwave-popcorn factory workers exposed to the vapor from the butter-flavoring ingredient. Also known as bronchiolitis obliterans, it is a rare and disabling lung disease.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has already been monitoring a different severe lung injury outbreak across the nation among e-cigarette users. Like popcorn lung, it is disabling and life-threatening. New York State just reported another such death yesterday. Nationwide, more than 2,100 people have been sickened, and 43 deaths have been reported. More than half of those affected were users under the age of 24.
In the CDC’s investigation, patients have reported symptoms such as: cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain; nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea; fever, chills, or weight loss. Symptoms can develop over a few days or several weeks. These symptoms can appear whether or not a lung infection is present, and do not appear to be caused by infection.
The aerosol from e-cigarettes is not harmless water vapor. It contains harmful chemicals. Traditional cigarettes do, too. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths a year. Today, just for one day, see if you can stay away from these products. One day can lead to more days, and more days—with help—can lead to quitting forever. Take the Great American Smokeout challenge.
Need help to quit? Check out these resources:
If you are experiencing symptoms including shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, fever, nausea or vomiting after using an e-cigarette or vaping product, contact your health care provider or your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
Saratoga Hospital occasionally offers free smoking cessation classes and information sessions. Keep this online list handy as community programs are updated frequently.