‘Many unanswered questions’: Virginia Poison Center fielding calls about vaping concerns

Health

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia health officials are addressing the rise in severe lung illness linked to vaping after another death was reported and cases have been confirmed in the commonwealth.

Toxicologists have been concerned about vaping for some time, but with new health issues have them fielding entirely new questions. Dr. Ruddy Rose, the director of the VCU Health Virginia Poison Center, told 8News Friday they have been flooded with calls about the safety of vaping.

“Asking if vaping is safe, what volume of vaping is safe, is vaping better or safer than smoking cigarettes and we really don’t have answers to those questions,” Dr. Rose explained.

Rose says sometimes physicians are the ones giving them a call.

“Well, prior to this summer we probably didn’t get any calls,” he said. “Certainly the volume of cases that’s come up in the last two months is very concerning to people, particularly since there’s so many unanswered questions.”

Virginia’s Department of Health is also tracking lung illness associated with vaping. The latest numbers show at least eight confirmed respiratory cases in Virginia.

“I think most people agree, even in Virginia being the tobacco that we are,” Dr. Rose said, “that nicotine and tar and the other chemicals that you get from burning tobacco are toxins and they poison you.”

Rose warned not to consider vaping a safe alternative to cigarettes.

“I think we have to now look at vaping as the same type of thing,” he told 8News, “you know, you’re putting foreign chemicals into your body.”

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