Use of e-cigarettes and similar devices, a practice collectively known as vaping, was promoted early on as a “safer” alternative to traditional tobacco smoking or a way to help smokers wean themselves off the habit. Urgent care providers now know that’s far from the truth, as vaping has been blamed for a slew of serious health problems. The somewhat good news is that an upward trend in the number of U.S. adolescents who vape may be slowing. According to a study just published in JAMA Pediatrics, use of vaping devices among children between 10th and 12th grade continued to rise between 2017 and 2019. However, in 2020, use of the leading brand of vaping products saw an actual decline. While that was offset partially by increases in use of other products, the study also revealed that perceived risk of vaping is increasing among the study population. The problem is that even kids (and adults) who stop vaping may have already set themselves up for lung damage. Early symptoms could easily be attributed by patients to relatively minor upper respiratory infection, leading many to present to urgent care. It’s essential that the urgent care provider recognize red flags for more severe disease. JUCM covered this topic in our January cover article. Vaping-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) Presenting to Urgent Care is available for your reading now.
Vaping May Be on the Decline—But Be Ready for Users to Present with Serious Lung Injury