Whether it’s a nicotine e-cigarette or medical marijuana, local doctor says people should stop vaping

Lung-related illnesses due to vaping

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Nationwide, 12 people have died from a vaping-related lung illness.

This week, the first Floridian died due to vaping. Locally, Dr. Paul Vesco, who is a Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, said he has had two patients come in so far with vaping-related lung illnesses.

So what’s causing the illnesses? Dr. Vesco said more research needs to be done to figure out a definite answer. But, he said vaping marijuana and nicotine both have negative impacts on the lungs.

Dr.Vesco said when a pesticide, which he said over 80% of marijuana leaves contain, or when some of the additives in a nicotine e-cigarette is heated in a person’s lungs through vaping, it can cause damage to the lungs.

Health experts are still looking into if the frequency a person vapes increases their chances of getting sick.

"I don't know if there's a correlation between the number of times you hit that pen, the length of time you hit that pen, the amount of time you heat it. Most of these heating elements are not very standardized and so the problem is you really don't know what dose you're getting," Dr. Vesco said.

As for medical marijuana, the doctor recommends if a person uses it to try and pick another way to take it rather than vaping it.

And because The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared vaping an epidemic, anyone who suffers from a vaping-related lung illness is asked to report their case to the CDC. The latest numbers show 805 people nationwide has developed a vaping-related lung illness.

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