Catch Your Breath: Part II - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Catch Your Breath: Part II

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -

In part one of “Catch Your Breath” our look at the risk of vaping, a community health expert explained what the irreversible lung disease popcorn lung is and what it has to do with e-cigarettes.

In part two, a respiratory therapist explains how the lungs are impacted by the chemical, found in many of the e-juices, is damaging the lungs of teens and adults right there in our area.

In 2015 the Hospital Council of NW Ohio found roughly 11% of 6th through 12th graders in our area tried e-cigarettes at some point in the previous year.

That same year, is when Harvard's School of Public Health concluded from there study that urgent action is needed to evaluate the potentially widespread exposure to diacetyl from vaping. 

"We don't grow new lung tissue,” said Holly Kowalski, respiratory therapist at St. Luke's Hospital Tobacco Treatment Center. “It doesn't matter how long you've been quit. If you're a smoker. If you take things into your lungs and you've damaged your lungs, it's not coming back. You have to learn to live with what's left."\

Kowalski has been working with teens caught smoking at school in our area for 28 years. In the last six years, she's been startled by the perception students have about the dangers of vaping.

"The years that the FDA did not assert their authority over these products allowed the tobacco industry to get a foothold in another generation of our children," Kowalski said.

Kowalski said many vape shops opened up as "mom and pop" shops but large tobacco companies started buying them up and advertising heavily to teens.

The sleek design and fun flavors all without the smell and stigma of traditional cigarettes, made e-cigs very popular quickly.

"The problem with e-cigs and vaping is that the concoction that they are inhaling is not harsh,” Kowalski said. “It goes down easily. They inhale deeper."

This smoothness, she explains is what she worries about. She said cigarettes are self-limiting, meaning the smoke has a harshness and someone likely won't inhale as deep.

The problem is, researchers know the flavoring chemical diacetyl is in many, if not thousands, of the nearly 7,000 e-juice flavors.

Kowalski said because the chemical can be inhaled deeper, doctors and respiratory therapists are seeing signs of damage to lung tissue in the lower portion of the lungs.

"This damage here can really change your lifestyle,” Kowalski said. “Very much change your way of doing things, your ability to exercise. Your ability to do work. Sometimes just your ability to get through a normal day."

She can't say with 100 per cent certainty that what the students are experiencing is “Popcorn Lung” or bronchiolitis obliterans. But recent research shows there is a direct correlation between inhaling the flavoring chemical diacetyl and the irreversible loss of lung function.

Kowalski also said there needs to be more studies done to really grasp the severity of the damage to the lungs caused by vaping.

There is some good news though. In 2017 the Hospital Council of NW Ohio said there was a small decline in the number of students who said they've vaped in the last year. And recently the FDA put e-cigarettes and e-juice under current tobacco regulations. 

Follow WTOL:  

Download our app here

Copyright 2017 WTOL. All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • 5 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    5 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:25 AM EST2018-02-25 07:25:46 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 8:36 PM EST2018-02-26 01:36:30 GMT
    (Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River  Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati.  Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...(Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati. Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>
  • China paves way for Xi Jinping to remain leader for years

    China paves way for Xi Jinping to remain leader for years

    Sunday, February 25 2018 4:05 AM EST2018-02-25 09:05:47 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 8:27 PM EST2018-02-26 01:27:32 GMT
    Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press briefing with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press briefing with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

    China's official news agency says the ruling Communist Party has proposed removing a limit of two consecutive terms for the country's president and vice president.

    More >>

    China's official news agency says the ruling Communist Party has proposed removing a limit of two consecutive terms for the country's president and vice president.

    More >>
  • Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:16 AM EST2018-02-25 07:16:08 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 8:06 PM EST2018-02-26 01:06:59 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly