Nurse Nik: Gov. Inslee's vape ban is right on time.
It seems like everyone just about knows someone who uses e-cigarettes/vaping. Personally, I know of a few people who have tried to tell me how safe it is and that it shouldn’t be too much of a health concern. Lately, in the news we have learned that a mysterious lung disease related to vaping has sickened at least 530 people across the U.S. (Angelicalavito. 2019, September 25).
Those who have experienced this strange illness complained of, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. “Popcorn Lung,” is a term used for the medical condition, bronchiolitis obliterans. A condition that damages the small airways of your lungs and can be caused by e-cigarette vapor. The lung tissue scarring caused by popcorn lung is irreversible (Huizen, J. 2018, March 13). So far, 11 fatalities have been reported from the lung disease that resembles a rare form of Pneumonia. Individual states, as well as, countries have taken steps to put a ban on e-cigarettes.
There have been 6 cases confirmed in the state of Washington. And although Washington state has raised the smoking and vaping age to 21 years old this year many legislators feel that more action should be taken. “In a letter last week, Rep Pollet, D-Seattle and Sen. Kuderer, D-Bellevue have asked the DOH to ban flavorings containing two chemicals, vitamin E acetate and diacetyl, which some investigators are looking at as they search for a link between vaping and lung illness” (O’Sullivan, J. 2019, September 24). Washington State Governor Jay Inslee weighed into the debate over vaping by signing an executive order last week banning flavored vapes from Washington State for the next 120 days.
Other states such as Massachusetts imposed a 4 month ban on the sale of all vaping products. Countries such as, Israel announced an emergency ban on flavored e-cigarettes, and China has also placed restrictions on the products (Angelicalavito. 2019, September 25). The CDC has recommended consumers to avoid all vaping products.
Because e-cigarettes are relatively new to the marketplace, little research exists about their long-term effects and safety. What we do know is that they contain a variety of harmful compounds and substances. Vapor/refills contain a variety of substances ranging from nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings, formaldehyde, acrolein, and hydrocarbons. The presence of lead, cadmium, and nickel in inhaled e-cigarettes are also of significant concern. All 3 of these heavy metals are known to be toxic to humans (Smith, L., Brar, K., Srinivasan, K., Enja, M., & Lippmann, S. 2016).
The FDA finalized a rule on August 6, 2016 that would regulate all tobacco products to include e-cigarettes. Vaping companies have until August 8, 2022 to submit an approval application on their products in order to meet FDA standards (Delmonte, G. 2019, April 9) prior to this law e-cigarettes/vape was not regulated.
As, we continue to slowly see the effects of vaping over time we will have a better understanding of how it can affect our health. Years ago, when cigarettes first came out on the market marketing campaigns touted the products as being safe and even healthy. People were allowed to smoke in the office, on the airplane and even in hospitals. Today, we now know the harmful effects of tobacco and the chemicals involved in cigarette smoke. It is interesting to see very similar marketing tools used in the use of vapor and electronic cigarettes. Time will ultimately tell what long term affects these products create for this generation.
Nicole Leonce, RN BSN
Angelicalavito. (2019, September 25). Death toll climbs from vaping illnesses as Florida, Georgia report new fatalities. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/25/tenth-patient-dies-from-vaping-related-illness.html
Delmonte, G. (2019, April 9). Is Vaping FDA Approved? FDA Rulings on Vape Industry. Retrieved from https://www.vaporfi.com/blog/is-vaping-fda-approved/
Huizen, J. (2018, March 13). Popcorn lung: Causes, symptoms, and treatment. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318260.php
O’Sullivan, J. (2019, September 24). Should Washington ban e-cigarette flavors? State leaders puzzling over response to lung illnesses linked to vaping. Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/washington-lawmakers-health-officials-weigh-responses-to-mysterious-lung-illnesses-linked-to-e-cigarettes/?utm_source=marketingcloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TSA_092419040756+Washington+state+grapples+with+serious+illnesses+linked+to+vaping+and+e-cigarettes_9_23_2019&utm_term=Active subscriber
Smith, L., Brar, K., Srinivasan, K., Enja, M., & Lippmann, S. (2016). E-cigarettes: How “safe” are they? Journal of Family Practice, 65(6), 380–385. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=115879143&site=ehost-live&scope=site