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Doctors compare lung injury from vaping-related illnesses to chemical burns on the battlefield

Last Updated Oct 4, 2019 at 11:05 am PDT

File Photo. (iStock)

Some doctors are comparing the lung injuries associated with vaping-related illness to chemical burns seen in war

Number of vaping-related cases in U.S. appears to be rising, with more than 1,000 cases confirmed, over a dozen deaths

There have been two reported cases of vaping-related illness in Canada so far

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – At least 18 vaping-related deaths have been confirmed south of the border, and more than 1,000 cases are being looked at all over the U.S.

Now, doctors are sounding the alarm as it appears lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette products continues to rise, even here in Canada, where health authorities are investigating two reported instances.

According to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, all of the patients in that country have reported a history of using vaping or e-cigarette products, and most of them said they history of using products containing THC.

“The latest national and regional findings suggest products containing THC play a role in the outbreak,” the U.S. CDC reports.

Some doctors have sounded the alarm, in some cases even comparing the lung damage seen in these patients to the types of injuries you’d see in World War I.

“All 17 of our cases show a pattern of injury in the lung that looks like a toxic chemical exposure, a toxic chemical fume exposure, or a chemical burn injury,” Dr. Brandon T. Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, tells the New York Times. “To be honest, they look like the kind of change you would expect to see in an unfortunate worker in an industrial accident where a big barrel of toxic chemicals spills, and that person is exposed to toxic fumes and there is a chemical burn in the airways.”

Larsen is one of several doctors behind a new study which has found that despite accumulating data on vaping-related illnesses, there’s still very little understanding of what’s going on pathologically.

The first illnesses were reported in late March, and as of late, 200 or more cases have been reported each week.

The only states to not report any cases, yet, are Alaska and New Hampshire.

So far, there has not been a particular e-cigarette, vaping device, liquid, or ingredient linked to the outbreak.

According to the U.S. CDC, 80 per cent of patients suffering from vaping-related illness are under the age of 35 — 16 per cent of patients are under 18, while 21 per cent are between the ages of 18 and 21.