Dr. Manar Alsharouri, a Pulmonologist with Prevea Health says he was not shocked to hear that eight Milwaukee-area teens were hospitalized for health issues believed to be related to vaping this month.
“We knew it was a matter of time before we’re seeing the young teens, and we knew it was a matter of time before we see a number of cases come together,” he said.
Dr. Alsharouri says doctors have watched E-Cigarette use rise over recent years.
“The numbers are staggering,” he said. “Now one in five, I believe 20 percent of teenagers are or have used it. As a matter of fact, I had a conversation with my own teenager today about this issue.”
The devices had been billed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
“Cigarettes have been out for decades,” Dr. Alsharouri said. “We know a lot about cigarettes and what they can do to the human lung and human body.”
Dr. Alsharouri says cigarettes have at least one thing in common with their electronic counterparts.
“You’re still getting a whopping dose of nicotine, which is a toxic chemical,” he said. “What we saw, based on the data that is published, is that it sounds like e-cigarettes are a gateway to actual cigarettes.”
Even so, Dr. Alsharouri says it’s what we don’t know about e-cigarettes that worry doctors the most.
“We don’t know what goes into these e-cigarettes,” he said. “(You’re) essentially putting chemicals into your body that we’re not fully in full understanding of what they can do. To make things more complicated, these chemicals are heated by this device and that alters the chemistry, it alters how your body reacts to them.”
It’s a risk Dr. Alsharouri says is not worth taking.
“What are you hoping to achieve?” he asked. “If your purpose is recreational and social, you know I think that’s a conversation that parents need to have with their children.”