Four Minnesota teenagers have been hospitalized with breathing problems after “vaping,” NBC News reports, bringing to 22 the number of teens and young adults in the Midwest who have suffered such issues.
Dr. Emily Chapman, chief medical officer for Children’s Minnesota, a pediatric health system headquartered in Minneapolis, said that four teenagers have been treated in her facilities in recent weeks, all presenting the same problems. Namely, they showed up at emergency rooms with what appeared to be symptoms of a mundane respiratory infection. However, they did not respond to treatment, and instead got worse.
“They’ve ended up needing our intensive care unit and in some cases assistance with their breathing,” Chapman said.
The one common denominator in the the four cases is that they all admitted to “vaping” — that is, using electronic vaporizer cartridges that burn an oil and turn it into a vapor that is then inhaled.
Vaporizing, or “vaping,” has become a popular way for nicotine (and in some cases, cannabis) users to get their product, according to The Center On Addiction. Oftentimes, that oil is flavored, with flavors such as crème brûlée, strawberry, chocolate-iced donut, mango, and many more.
“Dylan Nelson, 26, was put into a medically induced coma when his body started shutting down after vaping. 21 others have been hospitalized with vaping-linked breathing problems, and doctors don’t know why”: @NBCNews— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) August 14, 2019
???? Patrick Degrave https://t.co/ftoa9O14Sm pic.twitter.com/UPJRAPQaTo
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, 14 teens and young adults in Wisconsin and Illinois had presented at emergency rooms after suffering severe respiratory problems; all reported that they had vaped (the number has since grown to 18).
Of the 18 cases, at least some, though it’s not clear how many, suffered the issues after vaping cannabis. In the Wisconsin and Illinois cases, they all came from the area of the eastern edge of the Wisconsin-Illinois border. Other than that, authorities haven’t had much to go on. It’s not clear which manufacturers’ vaporizers or oil they used, or which retailers they patronized.
“We know there are certain characteristics in common with these cases, but we have not been able to get to the bottom of exactly what aspect of the vaping habit or product or solvent or oil is causing the injury,” said Chapman.
In fact, in one Wisconsin case, the victim’s brother thought he bought his vaporizer cartridge “off the street,” likely from someone who had purchased it in Illinois and brought it back to Wisconsin. He said that at some point in the chain of ownership, the oil his brother had inhaled might have been tampered with.
“You literally don’t know what you’re inhaling into your body,” he said.