Recent news reports prove a deeply ominous development. Young people are losing their life to vaping. The deaths are all related to severe reaction in the lungs. The cause of the dangerous, at times fatal, swelling is not proven, but all evidence points to the oil, the vapor, of the vape.
Vaping: Oil and Drug, and the Lung
Vaping of course is slang for inhaling vapors. Nearly all vapes create vapor from heating oil, creating a hot, oily, mist.
All vapes contain some sort of drug in the oil, and the heated oily mist delivers that drug into the lung.
Why the lung?
We think of our lungs are organs of air, and they are. But they are where air and blood meet. It is where the oxygen in the air meets, and enters our blood. It is of course in the lung that air delivers its oxygen to our blood, and then the heart takes it from there pumping the oxygen-rich blood from the lung all around the body, including the brain.
So snorting a drug in the nose into the lung, or simply inhaling a drug directly into the lung injects that drug directly into our blood, and thereby, directly into our brain, the whole point again of taking any drug.
If you swallow any drug, including alcohol, you lose a bunch of the drug. Why? Because the liver gets in the way. The liver is the body’s chemist, and it takes all the blood coming from the intestines. So anything you eat or drink goes through the liver first, where any substance can be altered to reduce its toxicity, or formed into useful substances for later use. If you take a pill of aspirin, the liver will eliminate some as it enters your blood from your gut and it first passes through the liver. But, if you sniffed the aspirin or inhaled it, it would go full dose directly to the brain.
Thus the lung is right up there with snorting a drug, or injecting drugs into one’s veins as a path of greatest impact.
This explains why some drugs, namely nicotine and THC, have been smoked for millenia. The path really works well.
Now that cigarettes are finally fading in popularity, the stage was set for some young people looking to make a few cool billions, to find another way to get the nicotine, or any drug, directly into the lung.
And, the answer is, the vape.
The Oil is a Big Problem
Readers of Real Answers with Dr. Lavin, are very familiar with the deadly impact of use of nicotine, including its incredibly potent ability to addict someone after a few hits, and the ability to kill by heart disease or stroke.
But today’s headlines are all about the oil.
For cigarettes, the added danger beyond nicotine is the tobacco plant leaf, it contains substances that now cause a full 1/3 of all human cancer.
For vapes, the added danger is the oil that boils into a mist. The CDC recently declared harm from inhaling these hot oil mists now an official epidemic, hundreds of kids around the US have become gravely ill, several have actually died. How does the oil hurt and kill?
Remember above we said the lung is where air and blood meet? That makes the lung a very intricate, blood-soaked sponge-like tissue. The air pathways create this spongy quality. Our big air pipes, like the trachea, split 32 times to form nearly microscopic airways. It takes very little swelling to end air flow through these tiny passageways. But hot oil can do it.
Take the right oil, turn into a fine enough mist, and a very irritating substance can get into the smallest of airways, cause a swelling in reaction to its irritations, and now the lungs don’t work well anymore.
Some studies are suggesting on oil that definitely causes much swelling is Vitamin E, but there are likely many.
A key danger is that vapes made by obscure sources tend to have more irritating oils.
What Happens if your Lungs Swell up after Vaping
Depends on how much of the lung swells, and how severely.
For kids whose lungs swell a lot, they can die, many others will be in the hospital a long time until their lung swelling recovers enough to allow them to breathe again without extra oxygen or other support.
It’s bad, bad enough to kill over 400 kids recently.
- Don’t Vape.
- The 2nd Bottom Line: Don’t Vape
- Nicotine in vapes is extremely addictive
- The oil in vape is killing kids right now.
Put it all together: It’s time all the grown ups got together to find a way to stop people who have decided to get rich by putting our kids’ lungs in danger.
It’s time kids can no longer use vapes.
Nicotine addiction can be, and usually is, life long. Losing your life to the inflammation vaping oil causes is life long.
We urge everyone to stop using vapes, for parents to take real steps to do what they can to stop or prevent their child(ren) from using vapes, and for our community and government to step in to protect our children.
To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin