KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Vaping is now considered an epidemic. New research shows vaping not only affects the lungs but other organs as well.
Since vaping is relatively new, not much is known about its longterm affects on the body. But doctors say what’s happening to people who vape so far is alarming.
“I mean, it’s honestly, it’s almost like the AIDS epidemic from the ’80s in infectious disease. This is a scary epidemic, and it’s self-inflicted,” said Dr. Andrew Sauer, a cardiologist at the KU Health System.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, vaping has caused 2,000 illnesses and 39 deaths nationwide.
Smoking-related heart disease kills more people a year than lung cancer. A recent study out of Cedars-Sinai Hospital shows that people who vape actually have worse cardiac performance than people who smoke.
“We shouldn’t be surprised to find out that this doesn’t just hurt the lungs, but these chemicals get into the bloodstream and go directly to the other organs in the body,” Sauer said.
A 17-year-old Michigan boy is the first person to have a double lung transplant because of damage due to vaping.
Sauer said his story is just the beginning.
“What did we think was gonna happen? You know you’re ingesting chemicals that we don’t know anything about. These chemicals can easily be toxins. And I mean, you wouldn’t go home and inject home cleaning products into your lungs and then be surprised if you have injury,” Sauer said.
“So it’s kind of like shame on us for letting this unfold and we need to ratchet it back and we need to figure out how to put some restrictions on this for the safety of the public and especially our kids.”
The Kansas Board of Education is considering banning vaping from school campuses across the state. The group heard testimony Tuesday night from members of a vaping task force, pushing for state legislation to protect minors.
“If I was to tell my kids pick one or the other, I’d pick neither,” Sauer said. “But the reality is tobacco products might not be worse at this point than vaping. Vaping may be the most dangerous thing we’ve seen.”
Sauer said people who vape are simply killing themselves.
The push to ban vaping at schools across the state of Kansas is part of the Tobacco 21 movement. If passed, the legislation would also make it illegal to buy tobacco and vaping products under 21 years old.
Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have passed similar laws.