Eight teens were hospitalized in Wisconsin in July with severely damaged lungs, the ministry of health reported Thursday.
"We suspect that these injuries were caused by fumes," Dr. The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, where the teenagers were admitted to a press conference.
Her symptoms, including coughing, dyspnoea, and fatigue, worsened for days or weeks before the patients arrived at the Children's Hospital. Some reported fever, anorexia, chest pain, nausea and diarrhea. Scans and X-rays showed inflammation or swelling in both lungs, so Gutzeit.
All eight patients living in Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Winnebago Counties had been tested negative for infectious diseases in the weeks and months prior to hospitalization and reported vapors.
"The severity of health was different and some patients needed help to breathe," Gutzeit said. He added that the teens showed improvement after treatment, but the long-term effects are not yet known. Gutzeit fears that more teenagers will develop similar lung damage requiring hospital treatment due to the "exponential increase in the number of teenagers who evaporate." According to the health department, middle school students are current users. By the time they reach high school, 32% have tried e-cigarettes and 20% consider themselves current users.
Vaping is relatively new as e-cigs were introduced in the US less than 1
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the same addictive chemical compound found in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Nicotine can damage the parts of the brain that control attention and learning.
There were also cases in which devices exploded and injured users.
In addition, the cloud is not a harmless "water vapor," as many adolescents believe. The cloud of vapor stems from burning e-liquids that, if swallowed, can cause vomiting, confusion, arrhythmia, coma and even death, according to the Wisconsin Health Department. And scientists who have analyzed e-liquids say that these fluids sometimes contain heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Teenagers can buy e-liquids that look for gummy bears and cotton sweets, peanut butter cups, and biscuits and whipped cream, just to name a few. As they experiment, some children find their way to the fittest: More than 80% of teenagers who have ever consumed tobacco start with a flavored product, according to a study by the Wisconsin Department of Health.
Wisconsin is not alone in that problem. According to a report by the US General Surgeon, the number of vaping cases between 2011 and 2015 among high school students in the United States increased by 900% nationwide. Although popularity declined slightly after 2015, student use of e-cigs increased by 78% last year alone, according to the same report. Overall, more than 3.6 million young people across the country, including one in five students and one in 20 middle school students, use e-cigs.
"It's very important that teens and parents know more about steaming." said Gutzeit. "Talk to each other, understand the risks of steaming."