The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been spreading rapidly across the U.S. in recent weeks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults and people with underlying health conditions are the most at risk of suffering severe illness.
Another group that is at risk isn't mentioned by the CDC, according to CNN. That's people who use e-cigarettes and vaping products — many of whom are young and, otherwise, healthy.
The overlap in vaping-related illnesses & COVID-19
We previously discussed the dangers of using e-cigarettes and vaping products. Juul, the largest e-cigarette manufacturer in the U.S., came under fire for targeting teens when advertising their potentially dangerous products.
The CDC reports that as of February 18, 2020, there have been more than 2,800 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the U.S. and 68 deaths. The main causes is the vitamin E acetate content in many vaping products. Once it enters the lungs, it can cause serious lung illness.
The symptoms of EVALI are actually similar to symptoms of COVID-19. They include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Nausea and vomiting
The difference is COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that can result in pneumonia and other debilitating symptoms.
Vaping raises the risk of severe COVID-19 illness
Stanton Glantz is the professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Research Control & Education at University of California, San Francisco. He asserts that those who smoke or use vaping products likely have a compromised respiratory system, making them more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19.
"Vaping affects your lungs at every level. It affects the immune function in your nasal cavity by affecting cilia which push foreign things out...[T]he ability of your upper airways to clear viruses is compromised," said Glantz.
According to the CDC, adults between the ages 20-44 account for roughly 20 percent of all COVID-19 hospitalizations. Glantz suspects that the vaping epidemic in the U.S. may be contributing to this, though there is still no hard evidence proving it.
What to do if I get sick from using a vaping product
If you notice any EVALI or COVID-19 symptoms, the first thing you should do is get prompt medical attention. You will need to undergo testing to determine whether your lung illness is caused by EVALI, COVID-19, or both.
It's critical that the companies who manufacture and distribute e-cigarettes consider the safety of their consumers. If their products caused or contributed to your lung illness, you may be able to take legal action.
The Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone is dedicated to serving people across Massachusetts who have sustained injuries or illnesses linked to negligence. Our personal injury lawyers have built a reputation for helping clients maximize their compensation.
To schedule your free consultation with our legal team, fill out our contact form online or simply call us at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.