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WVU expert available for comment on pulmonary impacts of vaping

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Sunil Sharma poses for photographs in the Health Sciences Center on the WVU Morgantown Campus. (WVUPhoto)

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As health professionals and legislators work to address the increasing number of lung injuries related to vaping, doctors at West Virginia University say the time for patients to act is now. Dr. Sunil Sharma, WVU School of Medicine Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine section chief, says that current vapers may be able to prevent further injury by stopping, or at a minimum, altering their use of the product. 

Quotes and Comments
Patient Impact
“The biggest impacts of vaping are seen in the lungs where the patient has lung injury that could be fatal at times.”

“As physicians, we’re seeing similar injuries to those of patients who inhale oil. We know that the products used in vaping –such as Vitamin E acetate oil – result in inflammation of the lungs. Lung injuries resulting from oil have few treatment options but may respond to supportive care and steroids.”

Is it too late for a patient who vapes to reverse the damage?
“Some early symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pains may potentially be resolved by quitting vaping. Equally important, you can prevent additional damage and lung inflammation by completely stopping the use of the vaping device.” 

If a patient doesn’t think he/she can quit “cold turkey,” what’s the first step?
“Immediately stop using flavored vape products, avoid dabbing (marijuana compounds via e-cigarette or vaporizer pen), or buying refill cartridges from unauthorized/ street vendors. The flavored compounds may contain increased levels of zinc, lead, and heavy metals that we know can lead to lung injury. People struggling to quit should consult their physicians on the best approach completely quitting the product.” – Dr. Sunil Sharma, section chief, professor of pulmonary, critical care and sleep at WVU 

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.


cat /09/23/19

CONTACT: Cassie Thomas, WVU School of Medicine

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