TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -Lung and respiratory illnesses are on the rise in East Texas and medical experts have confirmed cases linked to vaping.
What many people think is a harmless habit is putting patients in the hospital.
Dr. Suman Singha, Chief of Pulmonary Medicine, Christus Trinity Clinic, tells KLTV,”what we’re seeing is suggesting there are problems associated with vape use and we’re kind of where we’re with cigarettes many years ago that we’re learning."
Christus Trinity Clinic Hospital confirmed it is seeing a growing number of patients who are experiencing vaping related ailments.
“The products that are used to administer the atomized vapor are carbon materials, so paraldehyde’s and acetaldehydes and other chemicals as such have been shown to be carcinogenic,” explains Dr. Singha.
Doctor Singha recently treated a young patient who used vaping as an alternative to cigarettes, but wound up with severe breathing issues.
“I have seen what I consider pulmonary toxicity with vaping. I had a gentleman that was cigarette smoking and he started using vaping to try and help him quit smoking and did develop difficulty breathing,” says Dr. Singha.
Health professionals are unclear of the long term health effects of vaping, but pose some serious concerns. “Be aware of not only short-term consequences, but potentially long-term problems including exposure to carcinogens which could lead to cancer,” adds Dr. Singha.
He says more young people are drawn to vape pens and there are no regulations on what can be added to these devices.
“I think that we have to be very careful with what we’re putting into our bodies. You don’t want to be one of those people that takes a chance and something dramatically bad happens to you. There’s really no way of knowing which person that will be.”
Medical experts and the CDC say it is no question as to whether or not vaping is harmful.
“What we’re seeing across the nation and reported by the CDC at this point is that some of these patients are requiring heroic measures to recuperate them. So, they’re going under oxygen support, respiratory support.”
That is why Dr. Singha is urging parents to be proactive in discussing the effects of vaping with their kids.
“I think common sense again is the rule of the day and speak to our children lovingly about the potential downstream effects of this problem of vaping and discourage its use,” says Dr. Singha.
There is a sense of responsibility as medical professionals, to help educate East Texans on the severity of the illnesses that can be caused by using vaping devices.
“I think that the medical community should be behind a movement here to really control vaping especially in young folks, but in everybody.”
Medical experts are encouraging additional research to be conducted to gain a better understanding of all the health risks linked to vaping.