Deaths attributed to e-cigarette, or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) have started rising so fast that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is updating figures weekly. The latest figures, from December 10, note 2,291 cases in which patients have had to be hospitalized across all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fifty-two people in the U.S. have died across 26 states and the District of Columbia. The stereotypical image of a vaper is likely to be that of a teenage or young-adult male, but the actual age range of patients is expansive—from 17 to 75 years old. Most of the hospitalized patients acknowledged having “complete information” on substances used in e-cigarettes and vaping products in the 3 months prior to symptom onset. Clearly, that doesn’t equate to understanding the potential consequences associated with their use. Be assertive in probing for e-cigarette and vaping in patients, including how often they use and what substances are involved. Let patients know that 80% of those hospitalized with EVALI have said they use THC-containing products; 35% report using THC-containing products exclusively. This contradicts the perception that it’s a “harmless” habit.
Patients Are Not Getting the Point: Vaping Kills