Lung disease cases potentially linked to vaping seen in Bowling Green

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- At least six deaths reported from across the country have been due to lung disease possibly linked to vaping.

(Photo: MGN)

Local pulmonologist Karan Singh, who is the associate director of Western Kentucky Heart & Lung, says when vaping first came out, a lot of doctors were cautiously optimistic, because they thought maybe it could help people get off smoking.

But in the last couple months, doctors have been seeing younger folks coming in with sickness they shouldn't have been experiencing.

Singh says healthy people ended up on a ventilator, and doctors are trying to figure out what in vaping could be causing this.

He says a lot of the patients were vaping CBD oil, instead of just nicotine, and he worried about the denser smoke clouds and the possible chemicals that can cause that.

The Medical Center has seen two cases, and will be presenting the results on the national scale.

"I think it is almost a public health experiment, because in 20 years, I'll be able to tell you whether vaping was safe, or vaping was a big mistakes. And anyone who's vaping right now and tells you that they know vaping is safe doesn't know what they're talking about," said Singh.

Whatever it is -- it's causing acute inflammation in the lungs.

"How long did it take us to figure out that smoking is unsafe? It took us years. Because things like cancer, things like these chronic changes, they take years -- they take decades to form," Singh said. "And what's going to happen is, in 2040, I'll tell you that maybe vaping was safe, maybe it was a better alternative to smoking, and maybe in 2040, I'll tell you that this was the new smoking all along."

He says what he can say at this point is that the medical community does not know yet concretely, but vaping appears to be unsafe.

And that's part of the problem -- it's a practice whose potential consequences are still not fully understood.

"The only thing that I can tell you is the only safe thing to put inside your lungs is air. When we take water and we pour it into someone's lungs, it's called drowning. So the only thing that truly belongs in your lungs is air. Anything that you put in it can be dangerous," said Singh.

For now, President Donald Trump is moving to ban flavored vaping products, which Singh suspects are particularly attractive to younger people -- and he commended Trump for that decision.

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