The surging number of lung illnesses and deaths associated with e-cigarettes — even as scientists scramble to find what is causing them — illustrate how much is unknown about the health risks of vaping.
Health experts say what they do know is worrisome: Vaping can harm the brain development of young people, chemicals in some vape products are linked to respiratory diseases, and e-cigarettes may be creating a new generation of nicotine addicts after decades of decreasing adolescent tobacco-smoking rates.
Those same experts warn that it’s too soon to say whether vaping can lead to cancer or other chronic diseases, although some doctors say there are reasons to suggest it does. Health officials say ingredients in some vape liquids are known to cause cancer.
And that’s just for legal vape products. Vapers — and health officials — don’t know what potentially dangerous substances are in some of the illegal vape pods that contain THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes a high. Most of the people with vaping-related lung illnesses whose e-cigarette history is known vaped THC, or THC and nicotine.
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