Health alerts issued over vaping following lung illnesses

RIDGEWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) -- Health officials have issued alerts following dozens of cases of lung problems after vaping, including some in New York and New Jersey.

The cases surfaced as the FDA is already investigating e-cigarettes over reports across the country that vaping has allegedly caused seizures.

Vaping has become popular with older smokers hoping it is more benign than cigarettes and will help them quit, while young people hope the lack of exhaled smoke will make it harder to get caught.

But on Friday, the state health departments in New York and New Jersey issued alerts for people who vape, citing severe lung illnesses reported in both states. Many doctors say it's about time.

"I think inhaling anything into your lungs is unsafe," said Dr. Theophanis Pavlou, a pulmonologist at Holy Name Medical Center. "And I would recommend, other than just breathing fresh air, I would not do it."

In New Jersey, there have been nine cases of severe lung illnesses reported in patients who vape and 11 in New York.

Nationwide, the CDC is investigating 94 cases. And the numbers could grow as medical providers are encouraged to report similar problems with their patients.

E cigarettes are fairly new to the market. There are no long term cancer studies as have been done with regular cigarettes. Experts warn that does not prove it's any safer.

The American Vaping Association responded with a statement:
"We are confident that the final results will show that amateur-made street vapes containing THC or other drugs were responsible for these illnesses, not nicotine vaping products."

Nicotine is highly addictive and harmful however it enters the body, and doctors are hoping e-cigarettes will soon have to issue a warning on their labels like regular cigarettes.

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