Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)
Vaping talking points
Just last month news broke that a fifth person in the state of Illinois alone died from serious respiratory illnesses associated with vaping. Nationally, the number of deaths related to this issue has reached 48. Here to clarify why this is occurring and offering insight on solutions at the local level is Karina Parke, Carle family nurse practitioner.
For starters, can you take us back to the beginning of this? How did we first learn about the potentially dangerous respiratory illnesses associated with vaping?
• Indications of this issue date back to March of this year
• We’ve monitored information coming from resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
• Of course we have been aware of e-cigarette or vaping dangers for a longer time period
Can you briefly describe what an e-cigarette is and why these respiratory illnesses are tied to its use?
• E-cigarettes are devices that produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine and other chemicals
• These devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes
• They are very popular among high school students
• The nicotine and other chemicals found within vapes and e-cigarettes cause addiction and tie in directly to respiratory illnesses and other health issues
• The FDA reported some experiencing seizures
Is there a common misconception that e-cigarettes are a smoking cessation tool, which contributes to the health issues we’re seeing?
• What we do know is that cigarette smoking is declining and e-cigarette use is increasing among younger people
• We also know that evidence shows E-cigs have been used as a smoking cessation tool for adults
• CDC states that cigarette smoking among Illinois high school seniors has declined
• Meanwhile, e-cigarette use in Illinois increased from 18.4% in 2016 to 26.7% among high school seniors
• Regardless the reason, the bottom line is that these products are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products
Considering part of this problem is an addiction issue, are there medications or other medical methods to help?
• Teens would likely benefit from medical options like patches or drugs such as Chantix, but the problem is these options are not approved for use in people below 18 years old
• There are no dosing guidelines, no efficacy data, and these options are not covered by insurance for that age group
• Currently, what we can offer is one-on-one education for these children and their parents
• Some teens consider themselves invincible and that dangers with vaping don’t apply to them, making this conversation even more important
If a big part of this is conversing with our kids at home, what resources are available to help?
• Unfortunately there is a dearth of resources in the area for this younger population, as most of the smoking cessation attention focuses on the adult population
• There are national outlets that concentrate on kids and teens, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Library Association (ALA)
• We do keep a close eye on the advocacy efforts that are beginning, as more is needed at the state level
• Illinois legislature is looking to ban the flavored products that draw the children in and increased the age to purchase to 21, making it less available to the children
• It should also be known that the E-cig age of 21 came into law on July 1, 2019