WEST PALM BEACH, Fla— — Top doctors with the Mayo Clinic are helping to unravel a deadly mystery; severe lung damage stemming from the vaping epidemic. Researchers say toxic chemical fumes, not oils, may be causing the hundreds of vaping illness cases.
“100 percent an epidemic and I think it’s so common because it’s so easy,” said Boca Raton HS Students Against Vaping president Maria Gonedez.
In September, Gonedez started Students Against Vaping after watching her friend become addicted.
“I’ve seen it done in class before where people put it in their sleeve and vape real quick get what they need to,” said Gonedez.
Gonedez says her student-led organization now has more than 250 members. They are working together to try and get their peers to quit.
She and 25o students at her school are doing what they can to try and get their peers to quit.
“It really is bad, and how addictive it is people leave their class to go do it before a test to focus better,” said Gonedez.
It’s not only addictive but could land you in the hospital, like the hundreds of people across the country now battling severe lung damage.
“All of these patients had what appeared to be a chemical type injury or toxic chemical fume injury in the lungs," said Dr. Brandon Larson
Dr. Larson and his team at the Mayo Clinic took biopsies of lungs from 17 patients hospitalized after vaping. They quickly discovered all suffered chemical type injuries, but different levels of damage were found and identifying exactly what those chemicals are is proving tricky.
“One of the problems with vaping- there are so many products and materials and substances on the market with tobacco- there wasn’t only one culprit,” said Dr. Larson
Gonedez hopes the latest research will inspire her classmates to quit however she believes, unfortunately, it’s going to take more convincing.
“You would think that people would stop from that, but they don’t really get it. They think that it’s fake news or that it’s not really happening and they think it’s not going to happen to them,” said Gonedez.
Although doctors with the Mayo Clinic have released this breakthrough research, more work still needs to be done. The CDC has reported at least 17 deaths and 800 cases so far.