TAMPA (WFLA) – Controversy is brewing about the safety of vaping, as thousands of lung injuries related to e-cigarette use have been reported nationwide in recent months.
Researchers and doctors are scrambling to find out what is in e-cigarette liquid, and what long term effects the ingredients could have.
The safety of e-cigarettes is an issue that is dividing vapers and medical professionals.
“I feel totally like I can breathe. It’s just a sense that I’m not putting all these chemicals and harsh things into my body,” said Michael Amons, who switched to vaping to quit smoking.
His story is like many others, who feel vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes.
But, after more than 2,000 vaping related injuries, doctors are sounding the alarm.
“I’m seeing multiple cases a week, if not daily,” said Dr. Ryan Floyd, a Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician with Tampa General Hospital and USF.
Dr. Floyd tells 8 On Your Side he’s seeing an increase of patients with Vape Lung.
He says tell-tale sign for doctors is the patient’s age. “Usually it’s a younger patient population with the symptoms. They are acute onset, and have the exposure to any of the electronic cigarettes,” said Dr. Floyd.
The CDC has identified Vitamin E Acetate as a chemical of concern, and is urging people to buy from reputable retailers.
However, Physicians like Dr. Floyd are advising against vaping altogether. He says the chemicals used in e-cigarette liquids were not meant to be inhaled, and says there are too many unknowns.
“For example, some of the green dyes were really designed to go into the G.I. tract. So no one has any idea what type of injury that will cause. The other issue is the amount, or the plume of smoke that people are inhaling. Compared to cigarettes its huge amounts,” said Dr. Floyd, who also pointed out the amount of nicotine varies in these products as well.
Amons says he trusts the businesses he buys from, and likes that he can control the amount of nicotine in his vape liquid. He eventually plans to quit vaping, but for now, he’s thankful he’s finally free of cigarettes. “It just made me feel better,” he said.
Dr. Floyd tells his patients he does not recommend vaping as a way to quit smoking, instead he recommends gums and patches, and other smoking cessation products that have already been tested.