PHOENIX — Vaping is posing a serious health threat to teenagers and young adults across the country.
Top officials at the Minnesota Department of Health urged providers on Tuesday to be on alert for cases of severe lung disease.
Here in Arizona, state officials have launched a state-sponsored, anti-vaping website, FactsOverFlavor.com, to raise awareness of the health dangers that vaping can cause.
“There are harmful chemicals. It can cause lung damage. Many of them that we investigated also contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can set the kids up for long term consequences,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of Arizona’s Department of Health Services.
While selling vape devices to minors is against state law, Arizona’s youth are two times more likely to vape than smoke cigarettes, according to DHS.
“Mild effects could be respiratory problems, especially if your breathing them in and you already have some underlying chronic disease,” Christ said. “But the other things we are hearing about are burns.”
In Minnesota, the children’s hospital has had four confirmed cases of severe lung damage linked to vaping. The patients reported using the devices to smoke Nicotine and THC for months or years. All were 16 to 18 years old and first experienced symptoms like cough, fever and shortness of breath.
Ultimately, their conditions worsened.
“They required oxygen. They’ve required machines to help them breathe in some instances. Really ill,” said Dr. Anne Griffiths, who treated all four of the children’s hospital's confirmed cases.
Arizona’s campaign primarily targets kids eight to 13 years old.