Vaping: What we don’t know can kill us?

As of this week, the CDC has informed us that over 450 people have pulmonary illnesses that are linked to e-cigarette use including some in West Virginia.  They are also asking practitioners to help them find out if there are other illnesses yet to be identified that are linked to vaping.  Five people have been confirmed dead.  

These devices are relatively new to the market.  Though there have been patents going back to the 1930s for vaporizers for this purpose, the appearance of people sucking on a device that looks like a USB drive and blowing small puffs of the almost odorless vapor is relatively new. Since former United States Surgeon General C. Everett Koop warned the United States of the dangers of smoking cigarettes they’ve become less cool.  Still, close to one in four West Virginians is a daily tobacco user.  Companies like Altria are shifting their supply by buying the technology to create e-cigarettes and are advertising them as the new cool and less harmless that the cigarettes they have sold for years.  The CDCs release tells us otherwise. 

In my AHP interview with Dr. Sherri Young, a public health physician and author, we discussed the dangers of vaping and how we truly do not know what happens to those who do.  States are now outlawing the flavors like cotton candy and bubble gum that most in public health believe to be marketed to minors.  Right now, we don’t know what happens if you’re a life long vaper.  Dr. Young says parents should be talking with their children.

You can see the CDC’s information here: Look for my interview, available on September 9th, with Dr. Young on the Appalachian Health Podcast available wherever you get great content or at

Published by Danny Scalise

Danny Franklin Scalise, II is the Executive Director and Chief Lobbyist of the West Virginia State Medical Association and its subsidiary organizations as well as a professor of Health Policy at the West Virginia University School of Public Health. He is considered one of the leading health policy experts in West Virginia and is a passionate advocate for public health. Scalise has been a public policy adviser to two Governors. He is well known across West Virginia as a problem solver and a great student of West Virginia politics & the legislative process. As part of the Manchin administration, Danny was the Recovery Czar in West Virginia managing $1.8 billion in grants and entitlement funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
 Danny earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from West Virginia University Institute of Technology in 2002, his Master of Business Administration from West Virginia University in 2005, and his Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy in 2018. In 2016 he became Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. He has been published on and regularly speaks on issues of public health, health policy, and local health department governance & organizational structure. Danny sits on the Board of Directors for the Thomas Health System in South Charleston, WV and in 2019 Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin appointed him to serve on the Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health which governs the largest and first PHAB Accredited Health Department in West Virginia. 
 Danny has been recognized by Opportunity Nation in 2013 as part of their national Opportunity Leaders & Scholars program and was awarded the “Health Administration Rising Star” by the American Public Health Association in 2016. He is a 2012 Leadership West Virginia graduate, was on the State Journal’s 2016 Generation Next: 40 under 40 list, was named a 2019 Young Gun by West Virginia Executive Magazine, and was given the 2019 Advocacy Award by the West Virginia Immunization Network for his work to protect West Virginia’s childhood immunization laws. Since joining in 2007, Danny has been an active participant in Mensa.

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