According to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, young people in her state are being rushed to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms after using e-cigarette products.
Moody said that while the teens are testing negative for the coronavirus, health experts are concerned the e-cigarettes may be causing their symptoms. Some of the young patients have been reported to have been placed on ventilators, she said. Health experts say the use of e-cigarettes may be putting young people who vape at an increased risk of complications from the virus.
“These reports are extremely concerning,” Moody said. “Most Americans are paying extra attention to their health right now and taking steps to avoid contracting COVID-19. We know that most young people are not as susceptible to some of the more serious effects of the virus unless they have a preexisting condition. But, for teens who vape, we are now hearing that vaping may cause damage to their young lungs and is even more devastating when combined with COVID-19.”
Moody urged parents to talk to their kids about the pandemic and how vaping may put young people at risk, as well as about the habit-forming properties of nicotine.
Last month, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) reported that teens in the Orlando area were being hospitalized with COVID-19-like symptoms that were instead the effects of vaping. Moody said the department had recently announced 119 cases of vaping-related pulmonary illnesses statewide. Last year, the FL DOH reported 110 cases of vaping-related pulmonary illnesses in teens and two deaths.
“Over the past several weeks, we have seen a substantial rise in teen vaping related cases in our hospital that have resulted in critical lung injuries,” SAID Dr. Jenna Wheeler, MD, Pediatric Critical Care Physician at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. “It is especially important during these stressful times that parents talk to their children and educate them on the dangers and potential life-threatening side effects of vaping. It is absolutely more dangerous than most people think.”
The Florida DOH reported in 2019 that e-cigarette use among the state’s high school students went up 63 percent from 2017 to 2018. Nearly one in four high school students reported vaping. Another report found that nearly two-thirds of young people did not know that certain vaping products contain nicotine.