LOCAL NEWS

Study: Vaping Causes Cognitive Impairment, Lasting Lung Damage

May 20, 2021, 5:20 PM | Updated: May 21, 2021, 7:42 am

MURRAY, Utah – Intermountain Healthcare announced the results of a new study that showed there are long-term dangers related to vaping e-cigarettes.

The study indicated there is lasting damage from vaping for some patients and not just in the lungs. Researchers are especially concerned because the majority of patients are relatively young.

Before COVID-19 arrived and grabbed the attention of the medical world, many pulmonologists were focused on e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury, also known as EVALI. What they found is that not all patients completely recover.

“Were still seeing people who come to the intensive care unit with EVALI,” said Dr. Denitza Blagev, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Intermountain Healthcare and the principal investigator of the study.

Vaping did not dissipate during the pandemic. Some may have forgotten the serious complications of e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury discovered nearly two years ago when patients were showing up at hospitals with pneumonia-like symptoms with no explanation.

Intermountain Healthcare’s Dr. Denitza Blagev was the principal investigator of the vaping study. (KSL TV)

“What nobody knew at the time, and what we’re starting to understand now, is what happens to people that have EVALI a year later,” said Blagev.

She said not all patients bounce back to normal after they’ve been treated for e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury.

“Most people do recover,” she said. “But, there is still a significant proportion of patients, not the majority, that has significant breathlessness.”

Researchers examined 91 patients who suffered from EVALI one year after their initial diagnosis. The average age of patients was 31.

They found that 15% of the patients have severe trouble breathing, needing to stop for a breath after walking 100 yards, or too breathless to leave the house. What surprised Blagev the most was that 39% had mild cognitive impairment.

“These are young people without an underlying history of dementia, or Alzheimer’s, you’re really concerned about these long-term consequences of this disease,” she said. “It’s good that it’s mild. But, it’s still quite concerning for people that are that young.”

Researchers also found that 57% of the patients have anxiety and 34% of the patients have depression.

“People are not back to normal at the end of that,” the pulmonologist said. “A proportion of patients have significant shortness of breath, mild cognitive impairment, and then really a large proportion of people have anxiety and depression.”

She expected to see lasting lung damage, but not necessarily cognitive impairment.

“That’s concerning to us because this is a young population,” Blagev said.

Despite the dangers, CDC surveys showed 10% of middle school students and 27% of high school students reported vaping in the past 30 days.

“It’s only increasing, and we can’t afford to just sort of say, well I guess they want to vape, and it’s not a big deal,” Blagev said. “It is a big deal, and we’re just at the start of finding out how big of a deal it is.”

They still want to find out whether these consequences linger in five or 10 years, which will be their next phase of the study.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Cottonwood High lines up for a free kick following a fair catch against Jordan High. (KSL Sports)...
Andrew Adams

Coach, kicker & official reflect on Cottonwood High’s rare, game-winning play

Cottonwood defeated Jordan High after the Colts attempted and converted a free kick for three points with 12 seconds left following a fair catch on a punt.
3 days ago
...
Karah Brackin

Utah Veterans head to Washington D.C. for ‘trip of a lifetime’

75 veterans left Salt Lake City for Washington D.C. Tuesday morning.
3 days ago
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, introduces himself as a member of a n...
Ashley Imlay, KSL.com & Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Supreme Court declines to hear Utah gun rights activist’s appeal to overturn bump stock ban

A prominent Utah gun rights activist has lost his bid to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal bump stock ban.
3 days ago
Yvette Rodier, shooting survivor...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

LETTER PODCAST: Victim says bullet wounds were easiest part of recovery

When Yvette Rodier woke up in a hospital, she knew, even before anyone told her, that her friend, Zachary Snarr, was dead.
3 days ago
Housing construction....
Ladd Egan

Unaffordable Utah: Mortgage rates climb again as buyers look for price reductions

Utah's housing market is whiplashing as last year's buying frenzy seems to have slowed down to signs of a recession.
4 days ago
FILE...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: How cybercriminals use social engineering to get us to hand over our sensitive info

You can have the strongest, most secure password in the history of cybersecurity, but the bad guys know there is one weakness they can use to hack into your system - you!
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Study: Vaping Causes Cognitive Impairment, Lasting Lung Damage