Ever had to struggle for a breath of fresh air in a street or room full of people puffing on cancer sticks? If you’re a non-smoker, you are likely to move away as fast as you can from a chainsmoker whenever and wherever you happen to be near one. Indeed, having to constantly deal with passive smoking can quickly become exasperating and worrying.
There are strong reasons to worry about secondhand smoking. The global population of smokers currently stands at more than 1.1 billion people and is increasing. Every year, over 8 million people die due to smoking, with at least 7 million of them losing their lives due to direct and secondhand smoking. Smoking reduces life expectancy by 13 years and kills about half of all smokers. With such dire statistics, it is no wonder that governments worldwide are trying to conduct anti-smoking awareness campaigns and imposing higher taxes on tobacco companies.
It is hardly a secret that smoking can lead to an addiction due to the presence of nicotine in tobacco. Unfortunately, despite global efforts, there remains a strong economic incentive for commercial entities to keep manufacturing and selling cigarettes. As recent as 2018, the global cigarette market was estimated at $888 billion, and it is projected to grow to $1.12 trillion by 2024! If you were an owner of a tobacco business, such numbers would surely make you want to get a piece of the pie, wouldn’t they?
In a bid to minimize negative public perception of smoking, tobacco companies have come up with e-cigarettes or vapes. Positioning them as less harmful than traditional cigarettes, they have managed to appeal to younger consumers. By offering them different flavours and ‘cool-looking’ vaping devices, brands like Juul have become very popular among high school and university students. They vape for all sorts of reasons, ranging from validation from their peers to reduction of study-related stress/anxiety. The latter typically causes many students to seek external academic help. They may opt to pay to have their assignments done or buy college papers online to restore balance in their academic life.
Despite being positioned as innovative alternatives to ordinary cigarettes, e-cigarettes have become a growing cause for concern due to the recent surge in vaping-related deaths. That has led various government agencies in the US to take different actions aimed at containing the rising epidemic. The recent announcement by the Trump administration of a plan to ban flavoured e-cigarettes is a telling indicator of the severity of the issue.
As of the time of writing this post, there have been 14 reported cases of vaping-related deaths in the US. Let’s now take a look at 5 specific cases.
Case 1: Illinois
The first death to a vaping-related disease was reported on Illinois where a local resident died on August 23, 2019, after vaping Tetrahydrocannabinol (a psychoactive substance in Cannabis). Although the report didn’t specify the name of the victim, the Illinois Department of Public Health did mention that within the week preceding the announcement 22 people (aged 17-38 years) suffered similar respiratory conditions after vaping. They reported experiencing shortness of breath, lingering cough, and tiredness. These symptoms worsened before the said individuals sought professional help.
Case 2: Oregon
The second reported fatality from vaping was reported in Oregon where a local resident used e-cigarettes containing cannabis oil obtained from a legal dispensary. The middle-aged man died in late August.
Case 3: Indiana
On September 6, 2019 Indiana public health officials confirmed the death of an individual with a rare form of lung ailment. Apart from the fact that the victim was a senior citizen, little else is known about them.
Case 4: Minnesota
On September 6, a 65-year old man died in Minnesota in August. According to local health officials, the victim had been smoking e-cigarette devices containing Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although he already had a prior history of lung ailments, it was after smoking THC-containing e-cigarettes that he fell ill and died.
Case 5: California
On September 7, a 55-year old man from Los Angeles was reported to have died after smoking e-cigarettes.
As of the end of September 2019, a total of 14 vaping-related fatalities have been reported in the US, with the latest victim being from Nebraska. Although the individual passed away in May, the death was not reported at the time. That’s because injuries and deaths connected to vaping were not reported before the summer surge. The victim was reported to be in his mid-60s.
In conclusion, as cool, fun and addictive as e-cigarette smoking may seem, there are undeniable health dangers. Your health is always the best form of wealth you’ve got. Even if you happen to be an active e-cigarette smoker, making efforts to stop smoking will help you stay in good health. If you experience associated symptoms, such as labored breathing, chest pain and lingering cough days after vaping, you should immediately seek medical attention. As a wise man once said, prevention is better than cure.