• By Emily Blahnik

Expert Alert: Mayo Clinic expert addresses vaping concerns

September 11, 2019
a young man exhaling from a vaping tool

ROCHESTER, Minn. — With possible vaping-related deaths dominating news headlines, there is an increased concern on its effects and associated lung illnesses. Health officials are worried that there is a possible connection between vaping and a number of multi-state deaths that have occurred in the United States. While it’s not necessarily clear what is causing the lung damage, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention has issued a warning to discontinue vaping pending further investigation into the surge of lung-related deaths.

"The key thing for people to know is vaping is not water vapor. It is a complex solution of chemicals that have been changed from their original state because they’ve been heated to high temperatures."
Dr. J. Taylor Hays

As Director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at Mayo Clinic, Dr. J. Taylor Hays has voiced similar concerns with vaping. "The key thing for people to know is vaping is not water vapor. It is a complex solution of chemicals that have been changed from their original state because they’ve been heated to high temperatures. And although these components are considered safe for ingestion, the flavorings like cinnamon, the vehicles like vegetable glycerin, they are not safe for heating and inhaling because the chemical constituents have changed."

Dr. Hays is available to speak with media about concerns associated with vaping. Please contact Emily Blahnik, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, newsbureau@mayo.edu to arrange an interview.

Watch: Dr. Hays discusses concerns about vaping.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Hays are in the downloads. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network."

Vaping devices, also referred to as e-cigarettes, work by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, glycerin and other chemicals that users inhale. "Many of the chemicals now that can be inhaled are different aldehydes and other chemicals that are derivative from these original ones, and we think those are likely harmful. We know some of them are potentially cancer-causing,” says Dr. Hays.

Although it is not known what is causing the increase in lung diseases, vaping cannot be ruled out.  As Dr. Hays notes, “never inhale anything in your lungs except air."

Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for more information about vaping.

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About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news and An Inside Look at Mayo Clinic for more information about Mayo.

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