E-cig forum set for Oct. 9

Published 6:53 pm Tuesday, October 1, 2019

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GATESVILLE – With all the recent headlines regarding illness, and even death, from using some types of electronic tobacco products, a public forum will be held locally next week on this medical issue.

The Trillium Community Collaborative for Gates County along with the Gates County Child Fatality Prevention Team and the Gates County Community Child Protection Team (CFPT/CCPT are collaborating to present a public forum about the current public health crisis facing our youth known as e-cigarettes and/or vaping.

“We have invited the Gates County School Board and the Gates County Commissioners to attend; however, this event is open to the public,” stated Kathleen Foreman, Guardian ad Litem District Administrator for District 1.

The forum is scheduled for 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 in the Visitors Center at Merchants Millpond State Park. It will be facilitated by Teresa Beardsley, Region 9 Tobacco Prevention Manager with Albemarle Regional Health Services.

Topics open for discussion include the different types of e-cigarettes now available on the market; the harmful effects of those products; details on e-juice; FDA regulations; and sharing contact info on how to quit using these types of products.

According to the Carolina Journal News Service, the first North Carolinian died of vaping-related lung illness at Cone Health in Greensboro on Thursday, Sept. 26. Vaping-related illnesses have hit the Tar Heel State hard. Though it has been spared the severity of the outbreaks in California and Texas, North Carolina is home to at least 40 cases of vaping-related illness.

Nationally, more than 800 people have vaping-related lung injuries, and at least 13 people have died.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspects THC — the psychoactive ingredient that produces the high in marijuana — is tied to the outbreak. Almost 80% of patients self-reported vaping THC products, but doctors believe the number may be higher.

The illness makes patients weak and short of breath. Many need supplemental oxygen; some need ventilators to keep them alive until their lungs recover.

Some patients’ lungs were so damaged they required an ECMO oxygenator — the most extreme form of life support, in which a device breathes for the patient by pumping oxygen directly into the bloodstream.

“Similar to what other people are seeing across the country, we’ve started to see young people in their 20s — otherwise healthy adults without any significant medical history — that are presenting with respiratory failure or symptoms that look similar to pneumonia that are requiring life support,” said Dr. Peter Miller of Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Most of the patients were 18-34 years old, but more than a third of them were younger than 21, the CDC reports.

Just as uncertainty surrounds the cause of the outbreak, it also clouds patients’ futures. Doctors don’t yet know the consequences for patients’ long-term health.

“We don’t know if this is going to cause permanent lung damage, or greater risk for cancer, or other long-term issues,” Miller said. “It’s hard. Vaping has been accepted in society as the safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. And it’s turning out that that might not be true.”


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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