CDC warns vape users of health issues linked to e-cigarettes

A warning for people who vape is coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials are investigating serious lung illnesses related to e-cigarette products.

Right now, the CDC, FDA and state partners are bringing information to the table about e-cigarette exposures to identify the causes of these lung illnesses. We spoke to a medical toxicologist who says doctors need to start asking patients this question: Do you vape?

Doctor Dan Quan says he's starting to notice a concerning trend at Maricopa Medical Center: Lung issues linked to vaping.

"So far, I've seen two in the past week of these sorts of interesting lung problems that have [been] presented in hospitals," Dr. Quan said.

Initial findings by the CDC showed clinical similarities among people affected by serious lung illnesses related to e-cigarette products. Many of the patients are claiming to have used THC products, some using both THC and nicotine products while a smaller group reported using nicotine only.

"Teens to young adults that are coming in with bad [cases of pneumonia] and we don't know why," Dr. Quan said. "And most of them are associated with vaping."

The CDC says 3.6 million middle school and high school students reported vaping routinely in 2018. Dr. Quan says as vaping using goes up, smoking is decreasing.

R.D. started vaping three years ago to quit tobacco. He says he's not concerned about the CDC's warning and he's slowly dropping his nicotine dosage.

"That's why I did it because I noticed it right away, I didn't have to have a cigarette and [it] just worked out really [well]," Davis said. "I think that most of these kids are doing it [and] they're mixing THC and they're getting all kinds of drops from the street and I think that's probably what's happening — whatever they're mixing it with isn't good for their lungs.

"A lot of these vaping products may have nicotine in them, so they are just as bad," Dr. Quan said. "We have to see how all the data looks further down the road."

Symptoms for e-cigarette users should be aware of include coughing, chest pain, nausea, and fever.

"Now we have to ask the question, 'Hey do you vape?' and that could be the cause of why you have a cough [and why] you have a fever [or] why you have low oxygen levels," Dr. Quan said. "Those are certainly things we need to start asking when they come in."