SAN ANTONIO – In the wake of six deaths and hundreds of cases of lung disease related to vaping reported across the U.S., youth and young adults in San Antonio are weighing in after two cases in Bexar County were reported by the Metropolitan Health District.
“I just think it’s bad all the way around and, now, that information is coming out to confirm that,” said Rashaun Black, 24.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in 2018, 3.62 million middle school and high school students were users of e-cigarettes.
The FDA said there are many terms to describe electronic nicotine delivery systems, including vapes, vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes — also called e-cigarettes or e-cigs — and e-pipes.
“People who get vapes think it’s OK because it’s not cigarettes,” said Yazmin Ramos, 16.
The FDA hasn’t approved e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking.
“I just know that they like seeing the smoke and that cool stuff that they do with it,” said Destiny Garza, 23.
“I see the commercials saying that they don’t know the long-term effects of vaping right now, so a lot of that, I feel, is still toxic, and, eventually, it will hurt you worse than cigarettes," Black said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said six people have died of vaping-related lung illness, and 380 possible cases have been reported.
There are 29 cases being investigated in the U.S., including 12 in Texas, according to Metro Health.
“You don’t know what this stuff is, so a lot of people think it's fine when it’s really not,” Ramos said.
The CDC said harmful substances, such as nicotine, or heavy metals, such as lead, can be found in e-cigarettes.
“I wouldn’t want nobody to die from it or get sick from it,” Garza said.
“I love my body too much to smoke. I’m not going to do it,” Black said.
If you use e-cigarette products, the CDC said you should not buy the products off the street.
Local health care providers are asked to report suspected cases of vaping-relating illnesses to Metro Health at 210-207-8876.