A local doctor says lung disease cases linked to vaping are on the rise
The Centers for Disease Control is reporting 215 cases of serious lung disease linked to e-cigarettes.
One person died last month after being hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness following the use of an e-cig.
"I think it's very fair to say that it's deadly," said Chattanooga pulmonologist Dr. Minerva Covarrubias.
Covarrubias is a pulmonologist with Park ridge Health System. She's seen an increase in respiratory problems across the Tennessee Valley.
"The common thread is that they had been vaping," Dr. Covarrubias told Channel 3.
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The FDA has gone so far to call it an epidemic.
"It's an approximation that over 3.5 million adolescents or high school age kids are now vaping," Dr. Covarrubias said.
Dr. Covarrubias says many of them are getting these devices second hand off the streets.
"The problem is, you don't know what they're putting in there," Covarrubias added.
She says more people need to be aware of the risk of putting unknown oils in their lungs.
"For the most severe cases they do end up on life support, a ventilator, or mechanical ventilation," Covarrubias told Channel 3.
She says some patients think vapes are safe because they don't contain tobacco, but they are wrong.
"Any kind of toxic substance isn't going to be healthy," Dr. Covarrubias said.
The oil isn't the only thing that's dangerous, the device is as well.
"They are battery powered. So you take an oil based substance and put it on a battery? It's flammable," said Covarrubias.
She says the 215 reported lung disease cases are just the beginning.
"I think we are going to continue to see a rise," Covarrubias said.
She says if you regularly smoke e-cigarettes and have noticed flu like symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.