Editorial: Vaping epidemic can be stopped | TribLIVE.com
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Editorial: Vaping epidemic can be stopped

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Just stop the vaping.

Take the little electronic device that you are using to inhale vaporized liquids and put it down. It might not be smoking, but you’re playing with fire.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined the latest ugly numbers about the health impacts of the trendy replacement for cigarettes: 450 people in 33 states have contracted severe respiratory illnesses. The thing that links those people is vaping.

The number of sick people has more than doubled in a month. Three people have died. Another death is being investigated. They all vaped nicotine or cannabis products.

Stop vaping.

No, the doctors and health officials don’t know the specifics of why people are developing the sickness. They are still investigating. What they do know is that people vaped and got sick. They got sick and they died, their lungs labored and their breath choked. The symptoms mimic pneumonia but without the infection.

It has happened in Pennsylvania, with 11 suspected cases of the condition known. It isn’t seen in people who have been vaping for 30 years, because vaping is newer. The average age of the patients is 19. They were healthy until just days before they were admitted to the hospital.

“Your body wasn’t designed to put this stuff into the lungs to begin with — there’s no way to think it’s safe,” said Dr. Michael Szwerc, a thoracic surgeon and Excela Health’s Advanced Lung Center medical director.

The CDC is urging people to not use the products, at least until answers are found about the disease. If you can’t stop, the next best thing is to only use reputable products from authorized dealers and not to modify them.

This isn’t the measles. The prevention isn’t a shot. It isn’t the flu that you might contract through casual contact at work or school.

This unnamed condition would appear to be of our own creation, from our own devices. And that means it is entirely in our control to prevent. Addiction is a problem, but not an insurmountable one. Addiction can be treated. Death can’t.

Just stop vaping. Please.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
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