The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday, Sept. 19, that 530 cases of lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products have been reported at the national level as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17.
CDC has received complete sex and age data on 373 of 530 cases. It indicated that 72% are male and 67% are 18 to 34 years old.
In North Dakota, a 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Study revealed that the number of high school students who admit to vaping is highest in in the Grand Forks region. Conducted by the Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2019 study has not yet been released.
Nearly 1 in 4 say they illegally use products, such as Juul, according to the study.
"It's alarming that we are the highest," said Haley Thorson a public health nurse and tobacco prevention coordinator with the Grand Forks Public Health Department. "Unfortunately in North Dakota, our kids are using them at almost double the rate of the national average."
Vape products, such as Juul, contain nicotine. A fact the Public Health Department says few people know. But beyond the nicotine -- it's unclear what else is being inhaled.
"We don't even know what's in the products that are being sold in stores let alone some of these new products that are seeming to pop up illicitly on the street," Thorson said.
Some experts believe THC vaping cartridges may be to blame. However, the CDC says different vaping products have been involved.
"Kids will sometimes put them in the strings on the hoodies where their sweatshirts go. Or they'll stick them up their sleeve which they can kind of disguise them that way and then they just simply will bring their hands up and inhale," said Carma Hanson, of Safe Kids Grand Forks.
SafeKids of Grand Forks reports that nicotine poisoning can happen when vape liquid touches skin.
"That is highly, highly, highly concentrated. Because there's the equivalent of about two packs of cigarettes in this single cartridge right here," Hanson said.
The Public Health Department warns vaping can affect a child's attention, learning and mood. If becoming sick after vaping, see a doctor.
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