In August, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning about a growing epidemic — lung injury caused by vaping. There have been more than 380 cases reported nationwide, with half of these patients requiring intensive care, and at least seven associated deaths. In San Diego County, health officials recently reported 11 hospitalizations linked to use of an electronic cigarette to heat and inhale an aerolized e-liquid.  

UC San Diego Health experts say vapers can experience progressive symptoms of lung disease, such as shortness of breath and fatigue. Twenty-five percent of reported cases have required hospitalized patients to be placed on mechanical ventilation to support breathing.

The following experts are available to talk about the dangers of vaping, symptoms of lung disease and recent research data.

  • Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, pulmonologist and associate professor of medicine, can discuss inflammatory effects of vaping on the lungs and other organs, the different devices used, the chemicals within e-liquids and e-cigarette vapor and what clinicians should be on the lookout for. “We are still gathering research on the health hazards of vaping, but the potential for harm appears to be just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.”
  • Atul Malhotra, MD, critical care pulmonologist, can discuss the serious lung injuries associated with vaping. “I have seen several patients in the intensive care unit with lung issues as a result of vaping.”
  • Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, epidemiologist and professor of public health, can discuss vaping epidemiology and addiction. “The fact that there are thousands of vapers who are inhaling chemicals from unregulated products and with unknown health consequences is a major public health concern.”
  • Richard Clark, MD, medical toxicologist and emergency room physician, can discuss what hospital emergency rooms are seeing in regard to vaping. “A common theme is patients vaping THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis).”