GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- A doctor at Prisma Health-Upstate said he has treated more than six patients who have gotten sick, possibly because of vaping.
Vaping was once billed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes.
“Now we have to understand that this is probably a big mistake,” said Dr. Armin Meyer, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Prisma Health-Upstate.
He said he’s seen patients who have gotten seriously ill after vaping.
“Of these at least three were critically ill and required ICU care and ventilator support,” Meyer said.
The S.C. Department of Health of Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed three cases of vaping-related illnesses in the state, one of which is in the Upstate. DHEC is also investigating eight suspected cases.
“We do know that there are different substances involved…nicotine, but also THC, so we can’t assume that vaping is any safe way of delivering any of these drugs,” Meyer said.
Symptoms of vaping-related illness include coughing and shortness of breath. Some also report fever, fatigue, chest pain, as well as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
“What one might think is a case of a cold, can actually be vaping-induced lung injury,” Meyer said.
DHEC recommends that no one vapes.
“At this point, we do not know if it is safe,” Meyer said. “We do not know if in the long run we might be dealing with an even larger health crisis than actual tobacco smoking.”
The onset of severe pulmonary disease has not yet been linked to any particular e-cigarette brand or device, according to Prisma Health.
You can find information on quitting vaping here.