In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted the association of vaping and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Although the number of new cases has decreased, new cases are still appearing.
If dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak and peak flu season are not enough, frontline providers in the ED also need to remain on the lookout for cases of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). One big problem is that the symptoms of these illnesses can overlap, making it difficult to distinguish between flu-associated pneumonia and EVALI.
The guidance states that patients suspected of presenting with e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury should undergo a chest radiograph. Hospital admission is recommended for patients with low blood oxygen levels or who are in respiratory distress.
As of Aug. 27, 2019, 215 cases of severe pulmonary disease possibly related to vaping have been reported to the CDC. Evidence to date suggests the illness is a form of acute lipoid pneumonia likely related to inhalation of lipid materials.