Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Vaping Leads to 14 Hospitalizations in Two States

Health + Wellness
Vaping Leads to 14 Hospitalizations in Two States
A man smokes an E-Cigarette in the Vape Lab coffee bar, on Aug. 27, 2014 in London, England. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

The number of young people needing hospitalization due to vaping in Wisconsin and Illinois continues to climb after 14 young people in those two states were admitted for breathing problems, health officials from both states announced last week, as CNN reported.


Seven other cases are also under investigation in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Services said in a statement, while issuing a warning that the department strongly advises people to refrain from using e-cigarettes.

"We are currently interviewing patients, all of whom reported recent vaping," said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, in the DHS statement. "Our disease investigators continue to gather information about the names and types of vape products that were used in hopes of determining a common link. We strongly urge people to avoid vaping products and e-cigarettes. Anyone—especially young people who have recently vaped—experiencing unexplained breathing problems should see a doctor."

The Centers for Disease Control has now joined the investigation.

All of the patients had severe lung damage, and presented with symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and weight loss. The severity of illness has ranged, with some needing medical assistance to breathe. Most patients have improved, but it is unknown if they will suffer long-term effects from the damage, according to Gizmodo.

Another Wisconsin man in his mid-20s was put in a medically induced coma after using a vape cartridge containing THC that he bought on the street, according to Fox6 News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It caused trauma to his heart and lungs.

The 11 teenagers who were hospitalized in Wisconsin were normally healthy teenagers, "and they were coming in with severe respiratory illnesses, and in some cases, they actually had to go to the intensive care unit and were placed on ventilators," said Thomas Haupt, a respiratory disease epidemiologist with Wisconsin's Department of Health Services, to CNN.

In both Illinois and Wisconsin, doctors remain unclear what caused the severe respiratory reactions. The only link so far is vaping "but we don't know what they vaped, where they got their vaping liquids, all this needs to be determined at this point," said Haupt, as CNN reported.

Doctors at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, where most of the hospitalized teens were treated, issued a warning that echoed the state's Department of Health Services.

"Vaping in teenagers is something that's harming our kids and we want that to be loud and clear," said Dr. Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer, as Fox6 News reported. "We don't have lot of information about the long-term effects and sometimes even the short-term effects."

The explosion of vaping amongst teenagers has forced the FDA to usher in stricter regulations around e-cigarettes and their related products, while certain municipalities like San Francisco are trying to push through strict bans on using them in public spaces, as Gizmodo reports.

The regulations come as the scientific community starts to sound the alarm bells on e-cigarettes. Last year, a committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said there is "conclusive evidence that in addition to nicotine, most e-cigarette products contain and emit numerous potentially toxic substances," as CNN reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Once the virus escapes into the air inside a building, you have two options: bring in fresh air from outside or remove the virus from the air inside the building. Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

By Shelly Miller

The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, most of it from the inhalation of airborne particles that contain the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading in a home or business would be to simply keep infected people away. But this is hard to do when an estimated 40% of cases are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus to others.

Read More Show Less
California Senator Kamala Harris endorses Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 2020. JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made a historic announcement Tuesday when he named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius. STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.

France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.

The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.

"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."

Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.

By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.

The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.

"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.

While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.

"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.

Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.

Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.

A northern mockingbird on June 24, 2016. Renee Grayson / CC BY 2.0

Environmentalists and ornithologists found a friend in a federal court on Tuesday when a judge struck down a Trump administration attempt to allow polluters to kill birds without repercussions through rewriting the Migratory Treaty Bird Act (MBTA).

Read More Show Less
A spiny dogfish shark swims in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Washington. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

There are trillions of microplastics in the ocean — they bob on the surface, float through the water column, and accumulate in clusters on the seafloor. With plastic being so ubiquitous, it's inevitable that marine organisms, such as sharks, will ingest them.

Read More Show Less
A "vessel of opportunity" skims oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. NOAA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun

After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The Mountain Valley Pipeline proposes to carry natural gas for hundreds of miles over dozens of water sources, through protected areas and crossing the Appalachian Trail. Appalachian Trail Conservancy / YouTube

It's been a bad summer for fracked natural gas pipelines in North Carolina.

Read More Show Less