Vaping Warning at North Lamar

North Lamar students on Monday walk through an inflatable diseased lung during a presentation teaching them dangers associated with vaping.

North Lamar High School students on Monday received a warning about the dangers associated with vaping thanks to an annual presentation from the Paris Cardiology Center.

Ayesha Shafiq, director of Paris Cardiology Center, and daughter Layla Shafiq, a student at the high school, told students about the risks of “popcorn lung,” the nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans, a condition that has been strongly linked to vaping.

The condition creates scarring along small airways, closing air off passages and making it more difficult to breathe and get oxygen throughout the body.

“How can you be an athlete when it’s harder to breathe or perform as a student when less oxygen is getting to your brain?” Ayesha Shafiq said. “Vaping doesn’t just impact your physical health, but your mental health as well.”

Ayesha Shafiq said that though some people believe vaping to be a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, that’s not the case.

“Vaping can cause seizures when kids come in contact with the liquids, and it can also cause brain injury, vomiting, and a lot of problems related to lactic acid buildup,” she said.

Aside from the dangers of vaping, the devices used for it can pose their own risks, she said. Vape devices, especially those with poor quality batteries or that have been modified by the user, can explode, resulting in burns and other injuries.

In years past, Paris Cardiology’s lesson focused more on heart disease and stroke prevention, but this year, Shafiq said, she wanted to focus primarily on vaping.

“Vaping has been around for more than a decade, but it’s really exploded in the last couple years or so,” she said. “I just wanted to get the word out to the students that it’s not harmless and there are a lot of risks with it.”

Vaping has been in the national spotlight for months as more than 2,000 Americans who vape have gotten sick since March, many of them teenagers and young adults, and at least 40 people have died, The Associated Press reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week announced a breakthrough into the cause of a vaping illness outbreak, identifying the chemical compound vitamin E acetate as a “very strong culprit” after finding it in fluid taken from the lungs of 29 patients. Vitamin E acetate previously was found in liquid from electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices used by many who got sick and only recently has been used as a vaping fluid thickener.

Many who got sick said they had vaped liquids that contain THC, the high-inducing part of marijuana, with many saying they received them from friends or bought them on the black market.

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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