“They Thought They Would Die”: The Vaping Epidemic

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By JONATHAN HILLENBRAND and NorthShore University HealthSystem. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

The patients began showing up in emergency rooms last spring, at first in Wisconsin and Illinois, then across America. Most of them were young men, struggling in vain to suck air into their lungs. At first glance, their symptoms resembled severe pneumonia - but there was no infection or virus to blame. This deadly mystery illness trailed back to the one thing most of the users had in common: Vaping black market THC oils.
In today’s episode of the Healthy You podcast, we dive into the frightening vaping epidemic that sickened more than 2,700 people and killed 60 as of January 21, 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In November, the CDC said Vitamin E acetate was, “a very strong culprit” in the “e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) cases. Vitamin E acetate is an oily, sticky chemical that black market cannabis suppliers added to THC vaping liquids to thicken or dilute them. THC is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis that gives the high sensation.
Our guest today is Jerrold Leikin, MD, a toxicologist for NorthShore University HealthSystem, who has treated a half-dozen of these patients. Dr. Leikin is board certified in emergency medicine, internal medicine, medical toxicology and addiction medicine.
He has presented over 190 abstracts at national meetings, and has published over 200 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals. He is the co-editor of the Poisoning and Toxicology Handbook and the American Medical Association Handbook for first aid and emergency care. He is currently on staff at 8 hospitals, 4 medical schools and 3 poison centers.
Find out more at http://www.northshore.org/healthy-you/
Produced by Jon Hillenbrand and Carolyn Starks. Mixed by Jon Hillenbrand.

26 episodes