ST LUKE’S UNIVERSITY HEALTH NETWORK
Salisbury Township School District, in conjunction with St. Luke’s University Health Network presented a seminar Sept. 26 at Salisbury High School entitled “The Truth About Vaping.” The speaker was Dr. Doug Corwin, a pulmonary and critical care physician at St. Luke’s University Health Network.
His talk centered on three areas: how vaping is marketed to the younger generation, what the medical profession has labeled VALI (Vaping Associated Lung Injury) and how vaping is basically the same as smoking.
Corwin showed slides of how vaping is being marketed to teens and young adults. The vaping juice has a brand name of Candy King and is packaged and flavored to look and taste like candy. He showed pictures of the Juul and other vaping tools. If parents would see one in their kid’s room, they would think it was a flash drive. Corwin said it is marketed to look like technology to the technology driven generation.
Cigarette smoking has dropped from 16 percent to 8 percent from 2011 to 2018 because it is thought of as dirty and unhealthy. Vaping and e-cigarette usage has increased 10 times for high school students in that same time frame because it is marketed as being cool and not unhealthy.
One parent in the audience mentioned how vaping is happening on Salisbury Middle School buses.
The Juul is partially owned by the company Altria, one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco related products.
Corwin talked about VALI and how the medical profession is still trying to figure out the cause. Otherwise healthy young people, with a median age of 19, are experiencing airway irritation, cough, chest pains, increased heart rate and blood pressure and trouble breathing.
Corwin called the population “lab rats because we know the short-term effects of vaping, but have no idea what the long-term effects will be. If people are experiencing lung disease after vaping for a year, what will be the affects in 10 or 20 years?”
A parent asked how the symptoms are being treated. Corwin said since one particular product or chemical in the vaping juice has not been identified as the cause and medical professionals are currently using steroids as a treatment.
Corwin said lung disease is not the only possible injury. These devices are combustible and have exploded in user’s faces or pockets causing extreme burns to the face or legs.
Lastly, he mentioned how people who vape don’t call themselves smokers. Corwin said people must face facts – a vape cloud is not just water vapor. The juices contain chemicals as preservatives and flavoring to help users make rings and shapes with the cloud. One Juul pod contains as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes. Studies have shown that nicotine is as addictive and hard to quit as heroin and it damages developing brains.
With users trying to quit, the withdrawal symptoms are both physical (sweating, tremors, etc.) and psychological (anxiety, insomnia, depression, etc.). Corwin said vaping equals smoking. If you vape, just call yourself a smoker.
The bottom line is that no single product has been identified as the cause, none are safe and all are dangerous. But the good news is help is available.
Corwin said he is available to talk to schools.
Questions can be directed to St. Luke’s University Health Network for a pulmonary nurse at 484-526-3890 or St. Luke’s University Health Network Community Health at 484-526-2036.