Lung Specialist Weighs in on Vaping Concerns

As federal and state investigators try to trace outbreaks of lung illnesses to specific vaping products, many lung specialists are warning people to stop using e-cigarettes altogether.

Earlier this week, an East Texas teen was in the ICU with lung damage, attributed to years of vaping by her doctors.

Dr. Stephen Mueller, a pulmonologist at Methodist Charlton Medical Center, says those cases are the most frightening.

“That’s the kind of work we do as pulmonary critical care doctors so we know just what that looks like and it's absolutely frightening and it's frightening for us as well,” said Mueller. “Do we have a magic medicine to give someone to make them better? We do not. We have support. We're very good at that support, but we don't have - here take this it'll make it all better.”

Federal health officials report at least 450 cases of vaping-related illnesses around the country. That prompted the CDC to warn people not to use e-cigarettes, especially those bought on the black market.

Texas health officials are also urging doctors to inquire about vaping use in patients and report any possible e-cigarette related illnesses.

Wednesday, Dr. Mueller’s office put up signs warning patients to stop vaping.

While he says he’s never recommended e-cigarettes for young people, he has told adult smokers that vaping may be an option to help quit traditional tobacco cigarettes. For now, he says he’s not going to present e-cigarettes as an option to new patients until the CDC learns more.

“For me, I'm going to be more cautious until I can be assured that what I’m telling my patients doesn't have the potential to harm them,” Mueller said.

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