Vaping Updates & Insights

An alarming rise in vaping-related illnesses and deaths continues to concern U.S. healthcare providers. Here, ACHI will provide updates and insights on this evolving issue that is impacting our state and our nation. 

At a Glance:

  • 27.5% of U.S. high school students are current e-cigarette users, according to the CDC
  • 44% of Arkansas high school seniors reported having tried e-cigarettes, according to the Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment (APNA) survey
  • 7% of sixth graders in Arkansas have tried e-cigarettes at least once, according to APNA
  • 22% of eighth graders in Arkansas have tried e-cigarettes at least once, according to APNA

Every week, the CDC updates its website with the latest vaping outbreak information.

  • As of Jan. 14, 2020, 2,668 lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, have been reported.
  • 60 deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia (the median age of deceased patients was 51 years; ages ranged from 15‒75 years).
  • To date, national and state data suggest that products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources, are linked to most, but not all, of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.
  • Recent CDC laboratory testing of fluid collected from the lungs of 51 patients with vaping-related illnesses, submitted from 16 states, found vitamin E acetate in 48 samples. Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive in the production of some THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products.

LATEST: A new study, coupled with previous state-based evidence, strengthens the association between lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette use and the use of THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products obtained from informal sources.

  • Among patients for whom data on substance use is available:
    • 82% reported using THC-containing products

    • 34% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products.

    • 50% of patients who reported using THC-containing products provided information on product source. Among them:
      • 16% reported acquiring products only from commercial sources (recreational and/or medical dispensaries, vape or smoke shops, stores, and pop-up shops).

      • 78% reported acquiring products only from informal sources (family, friends, dealers, online, or other sources).

      • 6% reported acquiring products from both commercial and informal sources.

    • Most patients who reported using nicotine products acquiring them from commercial sources.
    • Patients aged 13–17 years were more likely to acquire both THC- and nicotine-containing products from informal sources than were adults.
    • Among 2,602 patients for whom data is available on sex (as of Jan. 7, 2020):
      • 67% are male.

    • Among 2,602 patients for whom data is available on age (as of Jan. 7, 2020):
      • 76% of patients are younger than 35.

    The Arkansas Department of Health is warning Arkansans who use e-cigarettes about the risk of potential lung illness.

    Current Arkansas cases as of Jan. 16:

    • Confirmed – 8*
    • Probable – 14
    • Under Investigation – 1
    • Total – 23
    *Due to a change in case definitions, some previously confirmed cases have been reclassified.

    Symptoms may include:

    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain
    • coughing
    • fatigue

    A few patients also reported fever, nausea, and diarrhea. The symptoms may worsen over days and weeks. Of the confirmed cases, all patients had vaped in the weeks and months leading up to their hospitalization. People who experience any type of chest pain or difficulty breathing after vaping should seek medical attention.

    Clinicians who become aware of cases are encouraged to report them to ADH Outbreak Response at 501-537-8969.

    Vaping is a real and growing threat to our youth. ACHI is working with parents, school officials, policymakers, and clinicians to promote awareness of the public health risk that e-cigarettes pose to young people and options for addressing the problem. The American Public Health Association (APHA) shared this video at its 2019 annual conference to showcase the work of ACHI, with a focus on vaping.

    time detailing federal and state tobacco policy efforts