AUSTIN, Texas - What started as a method to help smokers break away from cigarettes has become a health scare. The CDC has reported 18 deaths related to vaping in the U.S.
The epidemic has health officials warning users to put down the electronic cigarettes. Dr. Raymond Perkins, a Pulmonologist at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center said the lung injury cases related to e-cigarettes can happen suddenly. "There have been a growing number of deaths and there are also a staggering number of people who had acute lung injury from it and so it's just not worth it," Perkins said.
The lung illnesses are not associated with an infection. Health officials have not been able to pin the cause to a specific brand, ingredient or additive. According to statistics, patients say they use products containing THC and or nicotine."It's usually happening within a couple of days, people will have symptoms that may not be tremendously different from infections, problems like cough and shortness of breath." said Perkins.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has reported 75 lung injury cases related to vaping in the state, six in the Central Texas region.
There is still a lot that is unknown, health officials are working to determine what long-term effects e-cigarettes may have if any.
"I can't tell you that anyone really knows what's going to happen there is a suspicion or a fear there may be long term consequences of vaping but nobody has seen that," Perkins said.
Doctors are asking e-cigarette users to refrain from vaping until health officials are fully aware of their health risks.