Vaping raises serious health concerns

Learn more about the potential risks of e-cigarette products

| Author: Jeff Johnston

CMU College of Medicine and CMU Health officials reviewed information for this article.

Coughing. Chest pain. Shortness of breath.

These are some of the symptoms of a serious lung disease outbreak that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention links to vaping. The CDC says e-cigarette products currently are responsible for hundreds of illnesses and several deaths.

Meanwhile, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered a ban on the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products in Michigan over health concerns, and the federal government has announced plans to follow suit.

E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, also are known as vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). They work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs.

Central Michigan University specifically prohibits all e-cigarette use on campus and in CMU facilities and vehicles.

If you have questions about recent developments, here are some answers:

What does the CDC say?

  • The CDC recommends that youths, young adults and pregnant women should not use e-cigarettes or vaping products and that adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarettes.
  • If you use e-cigarette products, don't buy them off the street (for example, e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids).
  • Do not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • Report any unexpected health or product issues related to e-cigarette products through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's online Safety Reporting Portal.

What are the lung disease symptoms?

  • If you have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and have symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and weight loss, see a health care provider.

Where can I find help?

  • If you need help quitting e-cigarettes, contact your doctor or other medical provider.
  • CMU students can visit Student Health Services in Foust Hall, and faculty and staff can consult CMU Health providers at its Primary and Specialty Clinic on Three Leaves Drive.
  • If you have an immediate concern about your health after using an e-cigarette product, the CDC recommends calling your health care provider or poison control at (800) 222-1222.

Where can I learn more?

  • For more about e-cigarette products and health effects, check the CDC's informational website.
  • Members of the CMU community with further questions may contact CMU Health Education at 989-774-4446.
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