A Vaping-Related Illness Has Turned Deadly, Here’s What You Need to Know

A Vaping-Related Illness Has Turned Deadly, Here’s What You Need to Know

In recent weeks, reports of a mysterious respiratory
illness have taken the U.S. by storm, one
that’s sickened at least 380 patients and
turned fatal for seven.
As health investigators from across the country
begin to look into the issue, a common thread
seems to be emerging: vaping.
But medical studies are still in their preliminary
stages, and there remains a severe lack of
information surrounding the health effects
of vaping.
So what do we know so far?
We reached out to Dr. Christiani, a pulmonologist
and molecular epidemiologist who reviewed
and wrote an editorial about the most recent
major medical reports on the vaping-related
epidemic for the New England Journal of Medicine.
“The concerns about vaping are not new,
and there have been case reports for some
years now of adverse health effects, presumably
from the additives, things like flavorants.
I think what’s happened here is that it’s
a much larger scale.”
But before we dive into the theories of what’s
behind this vaping-related epidemic, let’s
break down how a vape works.
Vapes, vape pens, e-cigarettes—whatever you
want to call them—are essentially just battery
powered devices that heat a liquid into a
vapor that can be inhaled.
The vapor can contain flavoring and nicotine, but marijuana and hash oil are often used, too.
Preliminary studies have also found vapes to contain
heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead, benzene—which
is a cancerous substance found in car exhaust—
and ultrafine particles capable of traveling
deep into the lung’s tissues.
Aldehydes—chemical compounds known to cause
lung and heart disease—have also been found
in vapes.
And then of course, there’s nicotine.
A preliminary 2019 federal survey found that
more than a quarter of U.S. high schoolers
have vaped in the past 30 days.
Since nicotine is both addictive and harmful
to brain development, the risk for this age
group remains high.
But now, with at least 380 confirmed cases
of a mysterious respiratory illness in the
U.S., the public is looking for answers.
The first reported vaping-related death occurred
in August 2019 in Illinois, and since then,
six vaping-related deaths have been reported
in California, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota,
and Oregon.
What begins as coughing, chest pain, or shortness
of breath can result in acute respiratory
distress syndrome, or ARDS.
It’s a highly dangerous—and oftentimes
fatal—condition in which fluid accumulates
in the lungs, preventing oxygen from circulating
in the bloodstream.
But that’s only one part of the story.
“Unfortunately, the chemistry is complicated.
The toxicology looks like it’s lung injury,
but the pattern is heterogeneous.
Because it’s a heterogenous group of disorders,
it does suggest that there may be more than
one agent involved, because the response looks
quite varied.
But in all cases, it’s much more accelerated
than you’d expect in a chronic inhalation
And this acceleration may be a result of
changes in the formulation of vaping agents.
“It’s a much higher level of acuity suggesting
that the source material has changed in the
last year or so.”
A major suspect is vitamin E acetate, which
is a thickening agent used to adjust
THC levels.
Health officials in New York State issued
a report stating that they had found “very
high levels” of Vitamin E in samples from
34 patients who have fallen ill in the state,
many who reported buying marijuana for vaping
“Vitamin E acetate is an oil.
Some of the cases indeed, had what we call
lipoid pneumonia, that can happen if someone
were inhaling a vaseline type product.
But if you look carefully at the report, which
was not a peer-reviewed report, they said
8 out of 34 reported using Vitamin E acetate
in their mixture.
So, that’s a minority, a substantial minority,
and means that Vitamin E acetate has to be
one of the many compounds investigated and
it may well explain one or so of the outcomes,
but it’s not the whole picture.
I think it’s premature.”
So yes, more research is needed.
But how close are we to getting a diagnosis?
“I think it’s going to take some time.
That’s why I think it’s prudent to advise
people, as both physician and as public health
specialists not to vape, because we don’t
know what it is.
Even with a very large concerted effort the
number of potential culprits is large.
Dissecting the chemistry of this may reveal
compounds that haven’t been adequately tested
in humans or animals, so we don’t really even
know the extent of the inhalation toxicity.”
And this is because e-cigs remain largely
unregulated in the U.S., both in stores and
In fact, FDA approval of the products is slated
to begin in 2022, but in light of the recent
fatalities, that may change.
While vaping is growing in popularity, with
more than 40 million users worldwide, it’s
worth mentioning that not every country is
experiencing this epidemic.
That might be because e-cigarettes aren’t
as strictly regulated in the U.S. like in
other countries.
In Australia, for example, e-cigs containing
nicotine are banned altogether.
And in countries like the U.K. and France,
regulations are stricter.
To remedy this situation, the FDA is currently
working on a plan to remove flavored e-cigarettes
from the market altogether.
“I just think we need accelerated research.
This is not the first time something dramatic
has happened that requires a concerted response
on the part of the science community, the
public health community, and actually manufacturers to
the extent that they can be brought in to
help figure this out.”
If you liked this episode, let us know down
in the comments below.
And if you’re curious about other medical conditions,
check out Sick’s latest video here.
Don’t forget to subscribe and as always,
thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time.

100 thoughts on “A Vaping-Related Illness Has Turned Deadly, Here’s What You Need to Know

  • Hi, thanks for watching! For more information on vaping and the recent outbreak, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html#latest-outbreak-information

  • Its no mystery, the people getting sick and dying from this are buying cheap bootleg thc carts. And plenty of people get sick smoking fake carts filled with canola oil or other harmful things

  • The Nickel, Tin, Lead and Benzene were found are when you burn a coil at empty. WHICH YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO. I love your channel but get your facts straight. Read what the studies actually were. Who cares what a doctor who wrote an op-ed AGAINST vaping had to say. Vaping is a harm reducer and it is far, far, far less harmful than smoking. Don't be alarmist news media like the rest.

  • The deaths were due to black market THC cartridges with vitamin E asetate oil not ejuice. So the people were using black market cannabis prefilled cartridges which are not nicotine ejuice. Please report correct information and not miss information

  • Well, Juul told me that its all because of bad knockoffs from China and since there's absolutely no conflict of interest there, case closed!

  • I like how Australia's solution is to ban the addictive component (nicotine) while America's solution is to ban the flavors. Because so many people smoke for awesome taste and great smelling breath!

  • The Benzene comment was completely unnecessary… When I think of benzene the last place I think of is car exhaust, Benzene is benzene – don't make scare tactics, explain what these things are.. it is NOT educational doing that… I'm subscribed to this channel because of the neutral educational content and I'm sure a lot of other people are as well

  • You'd think a science channel would get the science correct.

    Too bad the concept of research is dead. We just crap out unfounded theories and, since they seem viable to our uneducated brains, believe it.

    Yay, American Exceptionalism.

  • So ecigs have been out for many years now but all of the sudden we are now seeing issues???? Why now? And with some of these teens it is not that they have been vaping since ecigs came out. IT IS BECAUSE OF THE ILLEGAL THC OILS.

    So why would people blame the ecigs and not blame the illegal THC chemicals. Also in the UK they are not seeing the deaths like in the US. Again it is because of the illegal products being used to vape.

    I know what chemicals are in my e-liquid. I have also vap'd while having a cold and coming off of the flu and not one time did I get any infection or did the vape make my condition worse. The one main common theme is the illegal THC oils. DO NOT BLAME the entire industry for a few that are going about it illegally.

  • **FAKE NEWS**

    Now that I have your attention. See, I hate it when people (Especially Seeker) use half of the truth, to justify their statements.

    "Benzene & 'Ultrafine Particles' are found in Vaping and causes cancer…"

    WTFudge is this vague bull fecal matter you are feeding to the public Seeker?

    Yes I know these chemicals cause cancer. "MASSIVE RIOTS"
    But how much?
    And is the amount significant enough to trigger cancer at all?

    Have a lovely day.

    Your average spectator.

  • What they fail to highlight until half the report is over, and even then just gloss over it, is that the reports were almost ALL tainted THC vapes. NOT the ones most people buy retail.

  • You won't know the true effects of gaping on humans. I ask you how long did it take people to figurw out the effects of cigarettes on people

  • Ciggarettes have many dangerous things are being one of them and that took over 20 years to figure out the effects of tobacco on the human body so how long do you think it will take for vapes, capes has around the same death ratio as mushroom suicide deaths so don't keep focus on capes take your focus off that and put in on k2(spice) aka synthetic weed, meth, heroin, opiods all sorts,of things do some more research and come back with hard hitting facts rather than strong opinions. I dont vape nor do I smoke but I know that gaping is better for you than smoking cigarettes (at least in moderation)

  • We’d still be in the Stone Age if we listened to people who say don’t do it because we don’t know what it does/is

  • Mt brothers friend had his lung collapsed after chain vaping. He almost died. He’s 17 fuckn years old. I’m sick and tired of my own government not doing anything about this. We did manage to get at least 8 people to quite, and they haven’t started, which is good.

  • 2 years ago the doctor said I had the lungs of a 75 year old. I went to my cardiologist last week and was told "you have great lungs".
    Smoking WILL cause cancer. Vaping isn't perfect by any means, but I'd most certainly be dead right now if I didn't switch.

  • If you're going to talk about the damage vaping has done make sure you have the same data within the same time frame as smoking cigarettes

  • So hitting a dab pen is vaping an ecig now? This channel is straight up lying. They must think we're absolute sheep. Its funny to have this hoax blasted on the media just days before the 100% tax steamrolls us in October.

  • Why is no one talking that these deaths are related to black market e-juice, that aren't at all regulated and contain other chemicals(like vitamin e or lead).

  • Just ban diacety (butter flavour) any kind of oil in the liquids and don't by any shit on the street and your problem will easy get solved. If you want see a save amount of flavours, the cause no harm to peoole, look you the list of authorized liquids in Germany, i don't know of any case the caused this kind of problems here, but any THC product is also banned in Germany.

  • Hello seeker, I've been vaping for about 5 or 6 years now in Portugal, next time you want to post this kind of video please check out your sources, do you even know how much Formaldehyde, or Nicotine is needed to cause a lethal vape? I think you should check it out 1st… Its is a fact that they're fatal but not in the usual quantity that is inhaled when vaping. There is an other fact that many people used in the comments bellow… "vaper black market"… they sell crazy stuff that are not supposed to be even produced. Most of e-juice, and vape mods companies need to go through a very strick quality and safety controls even before making products. And of course but not least there's the consumer factor, people who buy before they think about it or build before check safety measures (talking about "explosive" vape mods), people who buy stuff without checking if the product is safe or not or what's the e-juice made of.There's a lot of dumbass people who are pushing they're luck when it comes to vaping, but this also happens with tobacco, alcohol or any legal/illegal drugs. Seeker, have you ever read an article that says that vaping is 95% safer then tobacco? Cuz i can find you a good amount of articles saying that with trust worthy sources worldwide debunking all the crazy stuff i heard here in this video. I'm glad that you're concerned about public health really =) But you did it wrong this time sorry. My experience with vape was really good, i quit smoking, breath better, got more stamina in all my activities I haven't had a single thing bad to say about vaping besides my addiction to buy new mods XD but thats a different story for another time.

  • It’s literally the people who make fake carts adding that additive to make the oil thick so it looks real and doesn’t move, it’s not to balance out the thc levels

  • The drug war kills many more others and the gov wants to add vapes to the already ridiculous list of illegal substances. They only make it illegal if it feels good

  • These claims only regard to THC vapes not regular E liquid. Idk if you actually believe that vapes are worse than smoking but if you do, why dont you do a simple damn Google search on tbr contents of vapes vs smokes, then make a damn video. Jesus my brain hurts listening to people like this. Also why dont you use more than one damn reference for research.

  • Yall want the answer? Its black market vapes. That usually domt even have what they are supposed to have in it. And sometimes have something that SHOULDNT be in it

  • This is silly liberal propaganda. The issue is there are to many regulations driving up the cost of manufacturing. We need to free our job creators to unleash the power of the market! #MAGA

  • Here is why U.S. states are against vaping and pushing for legislation against vaping.
    As well as an argument against nicotine effects on the brain and addiction.
    Many people read headlines and take attention grabbing headlines and propaganda as dogma. Please educate yourself and look up watch John Oliver's Late Show Big Tobacco expose and see that nothing is beyond what Big Tobacco is willing to do.
    Plus all the legislation will not affect Juul, and if anything will only strengthen Juul's market share as the competition is eliminated. Is it a coincidence that Juul's CEO is being replaced by the someone from Altria, Altria that is in fact Big Tobacco?


  • This is disgusting! Why is Europe embrasing vaping? Ooooh… Because over there, tobacco companies aren't shoveling money into the state's pockets.

    Seeker. You failed. Disgusting.

    I am appalled.

  • Australia does not allow the sale of products containing nicotine, excluding naturally occurring, because of the class of schedule 7 poison the refined form (liquid) of nicotine is. “ Liq Nic” (trademarked 😂) is toxic to handle because it can be absorbed through the skin. The effect is very quick and dangerously overwhelming to the nervous system. Ingesting of this liquid, unless immediately expelled, even so, is extremely fatal. This poison that it has been categorised as means it can not be sold commercially in Australia in that form.

    I am not sure if that law was point in place to ensure safety before or after finding out (if they have concluded on that issue or not, I am not aware). I would assume for public safety, but I’m the optimistic type.

  • Australia does not allow the sale of products containing nicotine, excluding naturally occurring, because of the class of schedule 7 poison the refined form (liquid) of nicotine is. “ Liq Nic” (trademarked 😂) is toxic to handle because it can be absorbed through the skin. The effect is very quick and dangerously overwhelming to the nervous system. Ingesting of this liquid, unless immediately expelled, even so, is extremely fatal. The poison it has been categorised as means it can not be sold commercially in Australia or produced in that form.

    I am not sure if that law was point in place to ensure safety before or after finding out (if they have concluded on that issue or not, I am not aware). I would assume for public safety, but I’m the optimistic type.

  • I am disappointed in Seeker for posting this, and may start disregarding videos made by them after this.
    Clearly they have started to become opinionated about subjects as opposed to scientific.
    Using verbatim "Severe" "Deadly" "Unknown" etc. And talking about a subject without direct scientific information is stale. It is commonly used in media outlets where every inch is a mile.

  • Wrong. The thickeners in illegal THC oil market is causing respiratory issues. Vaping isn't the issue and thc ain't the issue

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC_bU3pPUcA – What the mainstream media isn't making clear. What near enough every single one of you ignorant twats is failing to to understand, usually with a complete lack of want to understand

  • liquid ammonia is caused by inhaling oils there are no oils is nicotine EJUICE so no “vaping it is not going to hurt you. Know why¿ science that’s why 

  • And all the metals would need you to vape it so hard you burn the cotton and over heat the coil witch people can not inhale that so harmless if you understand how vaping really works Know the metal in the coil and the temp it needs to release harmful chemicals

  • A simple piss test would figure it out 10 years of vaping. No one got hurt and now people use it for drugs. And it’s regulated heavily in the USA

  • 13 some people died only? More people die on a daily basis from drowning. Cull the stupid, if you made Meth legal, how many dumb people would rush out to get it? Keep vaping America, 20 people die monthly, wouldn’t even make a scratch in the human population.

  • So they don't know what caused it. They died in a very close time period. They died from damage to the lungs causing fluid to fill their alveoli and inhibit their ability to absorb oxygen. None of them had similar patterns of damage. They probably used a tainted product they bought from the same retailer online. The dealer of the HTC vaping liquid probably bought it online and resold it locally in the case they spoke of that all occurred in the same county. Attacking an industry over people being ignorant and filling their vapes with mystery fluid is dumb. Not that teenagers vaping isn't a problem.. but if they weren't vaping they'd be buying cigs off their friends or lighting up a bowl. At least if kids are going to be dumb they should be safe and dumb. Vaping is safer and less harmful than breathing in smoke (if it's a properly made fluid for vaping). The message should be that if you're a dumb kid or a dumb adult and you want to vape… You probably shouldn't unless you're of legal age. But if you do… don't buy weird Jimmy from down the street's home made vaping solution and don't buy vaping fluid from cheapesttotallylegitawesomevapingfluid.cam. Be smart.

  • Whats with the annoying whistle ever few seconds when the guy is talking?……. If you cant hear it you need to get better speakers…

  • This video has my most sheer and utter disappointment. Seeker is where I go for unbais and reliable information. I think I speak for all of use when I say you've failed us as a community. These type of videos will ruin your reputation and the would be a true shame.

  • Sorry Seeker, this is gonna have to be an unsubscribe for me. I cant follow a news team that will give false information just to make a quick buck from big tobacco. hope you guys have higher standards in the future.

  • Cut the B S vaping is 90% safer then cigarettes and why you guys don't talk about cigarettes that's killing thousands of people every day

  • I remember telling young adults that came into our club (at least a decade ago, when vaping started), not to vape because it was a totally new and unregulated industry, and they had no idea what chemicals or carcinogens were in there. They have no idea what the long term affects on their health will be (and there will be long term effects as well as short term dying) I hope, that at least some of the thousands of people I spoke to then took my advice.

    I also advise people now days to not vape for the same reasons.

  • I truly love the channel and all the hard work put into the videos but the statistic of illegal cartridges needs to be added

  • I'm so sick of hearing that it's caused by favoring vaping flavors it's from fake thc carts and they know it big Tobacco just wants everyone to smoke cigarettes again so they can fatten their wallet again who cares if vaping regulated e-juice saves lives right? We as consumers should have the right to choose to vape if we want I am 34 years old and my favorite flavor is black cherry,raspberry,lemon and or strawberry milk..they ate not kid flavors

  • Might want to fact check these guys.. while the health risks around vaping are a real concern they stated that the uk had stricter regulations on ecigs than the states which is Not true. Ecigs in the UK are legal with almost zero regulations. They even allow advertising on tv as they have embraced the new tech as a viable alternative for adult smokers.

  • Well look at the volumes of vapor that these people are moving through their lungs too. Not small little drags like someone would take off a typical cigarette or a joint but these massive pulls that have them exhaling huge volumes of vapor.

    of course people have taken to abusing vaporizers because people will abuse just about anything.

  • What do they all have in common? Vaping. Yeah vaping what though? Only took 3 mins to state that vaping oils is bad. Not vaping. Flavour ban ain't gonna do shit. If kids weren't vaping they'd only be smoking. Are you really that retarded?

  • You should check your facts before you post things Iike this. All the reports are linked to BLACK MARKET thc. Not vapes…

  • been vaping for 4 years, always make my own liquid, I purchase pharmaceutical grade Nicotine, and Vegetable glycerine, and Flavourings from Well known and heavily regulated/Accredited manufacturers all from here in the UK I never vape "imported" or "black market" products, and certainly nothing claiming to be related to "Cannabis"… not a single issue in my "extremely heavy" use of the products…

    a few simple things to remember,

    1. understand and research the risks/benefits
    2. purchase only the highest quality products
    3. use products responsibly

    99% of the time you wont have an issue…

    the problem with this kind of scaremongering is stupid people take it as fact, when in reality is a small portion of a much larger whole requiring dedicated research to root out the truth…

  • Honestly, as a teen that does not vape, I think this is just natural selection doing its thing, taking out the bottom 25% of my generation.

  • here is a question for all you people thinking your government is telling you the truth about this matter. When South Africa had an outbreak of listeriosis. imediutly they found the source and warned the public not to buy polony and started removing it from shelves to stop the outbreak. the Doctors and FDA have found the reason why vaping is killing in the US but refuse to release it to the public either the brands vaped so they can be pulled from shelves to do tests on or even to warn other vapers to stay away from those products till they can figure out what the problem is. The issue is all these kids did not vape the same flavour or the same brand the only thing that was a common factor is that they smoked underground THC cartridges the others that didn't mention the cartridges were/are scared their parents are gonna find out

  • I love how every video and news report only shows non THC vaping but love to blame it on THC. Street carts are not legal.

  • I think I have to unsubscribe from seeker now…. They have such an important platform to discuss facts and science and this is what they come up with:( bummer dude.

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