The state health department has confirmed two more cases of lung disease from vaping, bringing the total number to four.
Some health experts warn that it will get a lot worse before it gets better.
The health department says all four people who were treated with lung disease have recovered. But because so many people here, especially teenagers vape, some doctors say many more will wind up in the hospital.
The state Department of Health says two teenagers and two adults in Hawaii have injured their lungs from vaping. There’s now one case in each county, and there are several other cases that have yet to be confirmed.
The DOH director says vaping of any kind, whether with nicotine or THC, the drug found in marijuana, is not safe.
“This is a problem that is totally preventable, there is no reason why people need to vape. They simply should not vape if they’re worried about this lung disease, and they should be,” said Director Bruce Anderson.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg, we’re seeing that rates in Hawaii are much higher,” said Dr. Bryan Mih, from Kapiolani Medical Center. He’s the medical director for the Kapiolani Smoke Free Families.
He points out that vaping among Hawaii high school students is twice the national average. And the damage from vaping happens a lot faster than from cigarettes.
“You’re seeing these bad health effects just within a few years of starting vaping. That’s a rapid decrease in your health these are people that otherwise would be healthy in the prime of their life,” said Dr. Mih.
Experts say those who continue to vape should at least get the products from a reputable source.
“Anything off the street, that you purchase on the internet or from friends is probably not safe to vape. Who knows where those products come from?” said Anderson.
And let your doctor know right away if you start getting the symptoms.
“If you have the coughing, the shortness of breath, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, all those symptoms that are related to this lung injury. At least they can appropriately address it,” said Dr. Mih.
Nationally, 42 people have died from vaping, and 2,172 cases have been confirmed.