As dangers become clear, vaping loses reputation as safer alternative to cigarettes

Updated: Oct. 9, 2019 at 4:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Even before state health officials began urging residents to stop vaping immediately, there had been heightened concerns about the risks of e-cigarettes.

Nationally, there have been 18 deaths and more than 1,000 reports ― including one confirmed and one unconfirmed case in Hawaii ― of serious respiratory illness known as “vaping-related lung injury.”

But Professor Thomas Wills of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center said vaping has also been linked to another illness: Asthma.

“The research we’ve done here at the Cancer Center shows that e-cigarette use is related to asthma, not just in high school students but also in middle school students," Wills said.

Illnesses linked to vaping are huge concern in the islands since Hawaii has the second highest rate of vaping among children. Nearly a quarter of Hawaii’s high schools students have vaped, which is double the national average.

Dr. Jordan Lee, a pulmonary and critical care expert at Queen’s Medical Center, said he and his colleagues have recently seen an increase in inquiries about the health risks of vaping.

“I’m getting questions from family members who have kids ... when they have someone who is super sick,” said Lee.

“Other people in my group too have been getting questions from parents because it’s such a big problem with youths these days.”

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