Hattiesburg doctor warns of vaping spike in teens

Hattiesburg doctor warns of vaping spike in teens

HATTIESBURG, MS - The use of e-cigarettes and vaping increased among teens 900 percent from 2011 to 2015 and half a million middle school students admitted to using them, according to a report by the United States Surgeon General.

Dr. Manpreet Khemka with Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services said what was first marketed as safer can cause serious health problems.

"It's actually a gateway to conventional cigarettes," Khemka said.

Khemka said e-cigarettes or vaping is leading to so much more.

"Cannabis based oils," Khemka said.

Khemka is referring to a vaping incident reported on April 12. Madison County police reported cannabis oil, or CBD oil labeled galaxy and green mist, caused several teenagers to suffer drops in blood pressure and pass out.

"Since it's absorbed through that vapes route, it hits sudden," Khemka said. "And then it can cause your blood pressure to drop. It can cause syncopal attacks. We have had patients who have come with seizures with no previous history of seizures."

She said besides containing nicotine and carcinogens, vaping oils for e-cigarettes have their own red flags.

"Teens who are complaining of headaches, frequent headaches, or their heart racing too fast or eye irritation, many teenagers are coming up with chronic bronchitis-like symptoms," Khemka said.

She added just the act of inhaling vapors is another health concern.

"When they are directly hitting your lungs through vapors, then they can cause the blood pressure to drop down," Khemka warned.

Khemka said e-cigarettes were first marketed to help smokers kick the habit by decreasing nicotine dependency, but now she says it's advertised to teens as safer, even with candy flavor names. She said considering these factors, vaping should be a concern for parents.