Doctors See Spike in Lung Injuries From Vaping in Teens

Researchers warn that vaping also comes with COVID-19 risks

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A new warning is out from doctors about teen vaping.

Not only does it put your teen at risk for a COVID-19 infection, but more local teens are also ending up in the hospital with lung injuries related to e-cigarette use, according to doctors at Children's Health in Dallas.

Dr. Devika Rao, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Health and assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern, has been studying lung injuries caused by vaping/e-cigarettes, also known as EVALI, and recently discovered that EVALI cases among teens and young adults spiked to unseen levels locally during the summer.

Dr. Rao recently published a new study that found teenagers diagnosed with EVALI often had GI symptoms and a history of psycho-social factors, including substance abuse.

"Teens with EVALI who are hospitalized had a pretty high level of psychosocial stresses, including problems with behavior at school, problems with family, other substance abuse and certainly, with the pandemic, those stressors can be more enhanced," Rao.

She believes teenagers may be turning to vaping as a way to occupy their free time during the pandemic and help deal with the stresses of not being able to socialize with friends or take part in their normal activities.

"After things reopened, they certainly had access to vape shops and access to dealers. People developed pandemic fatigue, as wanted to be with their friends wanted to socialize more," added Rao.

A recent study found people ages 13 through 24 who vape are up to seven times more likely to be catch an infection from the novel coronavirus, which doctors say can be easily spread through the vapor of an e-cig.

That's doctors are urging parents to talk with young adults about the dangers of vaping and how it's more than just their health at risk.

Symptoms of EVALI are similar to COVID-19, including fever, stomach and respiratory issues.

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