What do we really know about “Vaping Illness?”

Vaping Illness (known as e‐cigarettes or vaping‐associated lung injury or EVALI), has dominated news headlines in recent months. Since it was first reported, the CDC has now documented a total of 2,712 cases, including 42 deaths, associated with EVALI.

Here at AbsoluteCARE, we have already had patients presenting with lung problems likely associated with vaping, and many have asked about their risk for EVALI. While the story is still unfolding, here is what we know currently, according to the CDC’s latest report:

  • There appears to be an association between EVALI incidence and vaping of THC products, particularly those purchased off the street or online from unofficial sources.
  • A CDC MMWR report 11/8/19 analyzing the bronchial fluid of those affected noted a high amount of vitamin E acetate which can be used as a thickening agent in THC products. The CDC does not have enough information yet to determine that Vitamin E acetate is a contributing factor, but it is likely that it plays a role in EVALI risk.
  • The CDC recommends discontinuation of all vaping, especially of products that contain THC.
  • For those who have turned to vaping in an attempt to quit smoking decrease cigarette consumption, the CDC recommends consulting with a healthcare provider about alternative means of quitting, as opposed to returning to cigarette smoking.
  • Those using recreational e‐cigarettes should talk to their healthcare providers as soon as possible, especially if they are having any respiratory symptoms.

If you think you may be at risk for EVALI or would like support to quit vaping or smoking, talk to your provider or call AbsoluteCARE Atlanta to schedule an appointment at 404–231-4431.

Dr. Rosenstock

Dr. Joel Rosenstock
Medical Director
AbsoluteCARE Atlanta

 

Dr. Rosenstock is the past president of the Infectious Diseases Society of Georgia. He previously spent eight years in the US Navy serving in the Republic of Panama and was awarded the meritorious service medal. An expert in tropical medicine, he previously served as the Medical Advisor to CARE, the relief organization and founded Peachtree Travel Clinic, one of the largest travel clinics in the southeastern United States. Dr. Rosenstock has been the Medical Director at AbsoluteCARE since its inception and has been providing care to patients infected with HIV since 1981.