Tuesday January 28, 2020

US Officials Identify ‘Strong Culprit’ in Vaping Illnesses

Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that a compound known as vitamin E acetate is a "very strong culprit"

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US, Vaping, Illnesses
FILE - A man blows a puff of smoke as he vapes with an electronic cigarette, Oct. 18, 2019. VOA

U.S. health officials say they have found the likely cause of a mysterious illness in people who smoke e-cigarettes, describing the findings as a “breakthrough.” US.

Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that a compound known as vitamin E acetate is a “very strong culprit” in the search for the cause of the mysterious lung disease.

Schuchat, who is the CDC’s principal deputy director, said the compound was found in fluid samples taken from the lungs of 29 patients across the country who were diagnosed with the vaping illness.

“We are in a better place in terms of having one very strong culprit,” she said.

US, Vaping, Illnesses
File – In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, a man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette in Portland, Maine. VOA

Schuchat cautioned that more work needs to be done to confirm that vitamin E acetate causes lung damage when inhaled, and said there could still be other toxic substances in e-cigarettes that lead to lung disease.

More than 2,000 Americans who smoke e-cigarettes have gotten sick since March, and at least 40 of them have died.

Health officials say that vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or to use on the skin, but that inhaling it can be harmful.

The compound is sometimes used as a thickener in vaping fluid, especially in black market vape cartridges and those containing THC — the component of marijuana that gets people high.

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E-cigarettes have been available in the United States for more than a decade. They work, in general, by using a battery to heat a liquid nicotine solution and turn it into an inhalable vapor.

While e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive, they have been considered safer than traditional cigarettes because they do not contain tar or many of the other substances in traditional cigarettes that make them deadly.

Advocates of e-cigarettes say they are a powerful tool to help adult smokers quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

However, critics say that e-cigarettes are making a new generation addicted to nicotine. They also point out that the long-term health consequences of vaping are not known, and say that e-cigarettes could contain other potentially harmful substances, including chemicals used for flavoring and traces of metals. (VOA)

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Vaping May not Help with Smoking Cessation: Report

The report found that smoking cessation could reduce the risk of many negative health effects, including reproductive health outcomes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and numerous cancers

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Many people may be vaping nicotine through e-cigarettes, smoking. Pixabay

The US government released on Thursday its first smoking cessation report in 30 years, showing that there is inadequate evidence to conclude that e-cigarettes help quit smoking.

It is difficult to make generalizations about efficacy for cessation based on clinical trials involving a particular e-cigarette, according to the report.

E-cigarettes have long been embraced as a less harmful way to satisfy smokers’ nicotine addiction, but all-time high youth vaping in the country has prompted calls for action to stem their use, the Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 3.6 million middle and high school students report that they used e-cigarettes in 2018, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed premarket applications for all flavoured e-cigarette products that continue to be sold by Aug. 8, 2021.

The FDA suspended this month the sale of cartridge-based e-cigarettes in flavors other than tobacco or menthol.

American, Medical, Electronic Cigarettes
A man uses a vape as he walks on Broadway in New York City, September 9, 2019. VOA

Also, the report said cessation medications approved by the FDA and behavioural counseling could increase the likelihood of successfully quitting smoking, particularly when used in combination.

More than three out of five US adults who have ever smoked cigarettes have quit. However, less than one-third use FDA-approved cessation medications or behavioural counseling, the report said.

Cigarette smoking among American adults is at an all-time low (14 percent), according to the report. However, it remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Approximately 34 million American adults currently smoke cigarettes.

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The report found that smoking cessation could reduce the risk of many negative health effects, including reproductive health outcomes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and numerous cancers.

“I’m calling on healthcare professionals, health systems, employers, insurers, public health professionals, and policy makers to take action to put an end to the staggering and completely preventable human and financial tolls that smoking takes on our country,” said Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams. (IANS)