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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Vaping

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Young person vaping
Young person vaping
Photo: Paolo_Toffanin/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Early in the pandemic, one theory as to why young Americans seemed to be harder hit by the novel coronavirus than teens and twentysomethings in other countries was high rates of vaping. Now, there’s data to back it up.

In a survey of 4,351 Americans ages 13 to 24, those who used e-cigarettes were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19 than those who didn’t. It’s not just an issue of displaying more symptoms like coughing — which vapers did — and consequently getting tested more — which vapers were. Simply comparing Covid-19 test results of vapers and non-vapers…


The latest learnings on vaping and the coronavirus

Photo: Nick Ansell — PA Images/Getty Images

When the novel coronavirus began spreading in the United States, many people thought that it was yet another virus that would mostly claim the lives of the elderly. That’s what early data from China suggested: People over the age of 60 and those with serious underlying health conditions were more likely to die. The earliest spate of deaths in the U.S. occurred in a nursing home outside of Seattle, Washington, where 35 out of 129 people there have succumbed to the disease.

For a while, there was the sentiment that, “if you’re less than 60 years of age, you’re safe…


E-cigarettes are a powerful smoking cessation tool, a new study shows. But not all experts want to embrace vaping.

Photo by Donn Gabriel Baleva on Unsplash

Smoking is the most preventable cause of death, causing nearly 6 million deaths worldwide every year. At current rates, this figure is projected to reach more than 8 million by 2030.

Now, new research suggests that puffing e-cigarettes may be more effective in helping smokers quit than other existing nicotine replacement methods, like nasal sprays, patches, lozenges, and gum.

But some health practitioners remain wary of embracing e-cigarettes due to concern over the rise of vaping among teenagers — especially in the United States. …


E-cigarettes were meant to help people quit smoking, but now Americans are having a hard time putting down the vapes

Photo: Vitalij Sova/Getty Images

Close to 1,300 people in the United States have recently experienced lung injuries from vaping, and 26 people have died from these injuries. This string of illnesses and deaths is prompting bans on e-cigarette sales in cities like San Francisco and states like Massachusetts. The number of injuries is raising questions about the long-term implications of vaping, and over two-thirds of vapers say they plan to quit — an ironic turn of events, considering e-cigs were positioned as a tool to help people quit smoking. But how hard is it to stop?

Cigarette use reached its lowest rate ever recorded


The move could prevent new vapers, but it could also cause current users to pick up smoking

Credit: Toshiro Shimada/Getty Images

The number of young people who vape has reached epidemic proportions, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 2018, 20% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days — an increase of more than 75% from the previous year — and 28% of those teens used the products on a near-daily basis.

In an attempt to combat the explosive popularity of e-cigarettes, the FDA recently announced that it plans to ban flavored nicotine products. …


More deaths, few clues, and a sense of emergency as e-cig use soars and the black market thrives

A closeup photo of a man exhaling smoke from an electronic cigarette in Washington, DC on September 12, 2019.
A closeup photo of a man exhaling smoke from an electronic cigarette in Washington, DC on September 12, 2019.
Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty

As the death toll from a respiratory illness tied to vaping reached eight last week and the number of total cases in the crisis climbed to 530 across 38 states, the mystery began to take on Hollywood qualities. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated its emergency operations center while scrambling to find a cause, or even just some clues, in a health crisis that has officials baffled. Unlike with salmonella or E. coli outbreaks, experts have no idea what substance is behind this public health nightmare.


Many people hospitalized from vape-related illnesses reported using THC oil. Here’s what experts know, and how you should proceed.

Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As of September 17, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported at least six deaths and 530 hospitalizations from the use of vape products like e-cigarettes and vape pens. The illnesses have spanned 36 states and one U.S. territory, but the deaths have come from states on the West Coast and in the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, California, and Oregon.

“Patients have been coming in with various lung issues caused by irritation in the lungs related to [vapes],” says Dr. MuChun Tsai, a pulmonary care physician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. While there have been…


YOUTH NOW

After years of public health wins, there’s a new generation of nicotine users

Illustration: Erik Carter

In 2016, it looked like public health officials had dodged a bullet. Teen use of tobacco products, which had been rising for two straight years following the introduction of e-cigarettes, was on the decline. That relief has been short-lived. Teen e-cigarette use is up 75 percent this year, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently declared youth e-cigarette use an “epidemic.”

What changed? One word: Juul. The discrete pod-style vape pen took off in 2017 with a polished design and a prolific social media marketing strategy. Like Google, the brand name has become a verb, with “juuling” now…


A new study finds that e-cigarettes — even without nicotine — may damage your blood vessels

A young woman smoking an electronic cigarette.
A young woman smoking an electronic cigarette.
Credit: DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Days after dozens of people were hospitalized for mysterious and severe respiratory problems after using e-cigarettes, a new study reveals that a single session of vaping, even without nicotine, has immediate and significant negative effects on blood flow. The finding is not tied to the recent hospitalizations. But this study, along with other research uncovering cancer-causing chemicals and harmful substances in the vapor inhaled from e-cigarettes, suggests that vaping is not as safe as many believe it to be.

In the new study from University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, 31 men and women with an average age of…


Policymakers see banning e-cigarettes as an easy public health victory. Experts say the plan will backfire.

E-Cigarettes made by Juul are displayed at Smoke and Gift Shop on June 25, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In July, San Francisco Mayor London Breed put pen to paper, signing an ordinance to effectively ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, making it the first major city in the United States to put stringent regulations on e-cigarettes.

For several years, e-cigarette companies like Juul have been decried by politicians, the media and even the nation’s top doctor, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who last year called e-cigarette use “an epidemic among our nation’s young people.”

While Juul use among young people has increased 78% between 2017 and 2018, some health experts fear that bans like San Francisco’s might protect teenagers…

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