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Lexington-Fayette Health Department concerned about vape-related illnesses

Posted at 2:15 PM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 19:07:09-04

A recent spike in vaping-related illness and in a few cases, death, has health department officials around the nation concerned about an industry that is not subject to federal regulations.

Vaping nicotine products was seen as a viable and healthier way to kick the habit of smoking cigarettes, and for many it has worked.

But because the devices and concept of vaping are still relatively new, there is no research available on what the long, or short-term health ramifications might be for those who use these products.

But health officials are also coming to the realization that the real problem, may not be with those who use nicotine-only vapor. More likely, the serious health issues they are seeing are presenting in those who vape “THC+kolkoll”, which is the product that causes the high in marijuana. Oftentimes it can be sold in massive doses.

“Three, four, five years ago, the THC we were seeing was 30, maybe 40 percent,” said Angela Brumley-Shelton with the Lexington-Fayette Health Department. “

In the last 18 months to two years, the trend we’re seeing even in this area, is kids vaping THC that is upwards of 99 percent,” she added after attending a national conference on this topic.

In most cases, health providers are treating male teenagers who are more likely to use THC in vaping device Young women, Brumley-Shelton said, would tend to use Nicotine only. And if you alternate between both products, the impact could be devastating.

“It’s looking like those who got very sick, or died, it looks like they were using both the THC and Nicotine products, and using a lot of both,” said Brumley-Shelton, who added that their conclusions aren’t definitive.

Brumley-Shelton also said the brain during those teen years isn’t yet fully developed - that occurs around the age of 25 – so the brain at those younger ages may not be ready for the bombardment of chemicals, and could be altered permanently.