‘Safer does not mean safe’: Wichita doctors, researchers study long-term effects of vaping on kids and teens


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita doctors and researchers are issuing a warning to parents after recent research reveals the effects vaping could be having on kids and teens.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released that nearly 35 percent of high school students in Kansas use vaping devices.

While no vaping-related illnesses have been reported yet in the sunflower state, many reports of teens being hospitalized in other states have been linked to the use of vaping devices.

Local doctors said the purpose of e-cigarettes has diminished. They were once a device used to help people stop smoking but have since turned into smoking devices of their own.

“Now, with more and more high schoolers and middle schoolers using it, the purpose of it has gone away,” said Mohinder Vindhyal, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, at KU School of Medicine-Wichita.

“Seeing the number of young people in ground and everyone has an e-cigarette device of some sort,” said Erin Doyle, a concerned relative.

Doyle said her now 19-year-old nephew has been vaping since he was 14 years old. She said she’s seen him go through respiratory illnesses that she believes could be connected to vaping.

“He uses an alarming amount of nicotine and that worries me,” said Doyle. “I was surprised how easy it was before he was 18 years old for him to get things with friends.”

Doctors and researchers at KU School of Medicine-Wichita performed a cross-sectional study from a CDC-controlled database and the results were somewhat alarming.

Documents from the study local health professionals presented say, “new research shows that adults who report puffing e-cigarettes or vaping, are significantly more like to have a heart attack, coronary artery disease and depression.”

It’s hard for doctors to say exactly what the effects are because vaping is still so new. Dr. Vindhyal said it takes several years, if not decades to determine effects of medicine and other products.

“It has shown that it can increase your heart rate,” said Dr. Vindhyal. “It can increase your blood pressure, especially after smoking them. We know they are less toxic than traditional tobacco smoking, but we don’t know how less.”

Dr. Vindhyal said this will take some time to find out, but he warns parents who allow their kids to vape about the possibilities.

He said once the results of the studies come out in five to ten years, the effects of years of vaping could be irreversible.

“Hopefully, it’s not too late,” said Dr. Vindhyal.

The studies and research being done by doctors and researchers at KU School of Medicine-Wichita has been presented to help change tobacco laws in other states, including Vermont.

Dr. Vindhyal said the fight to change the legal age of purchasing tobacco to 21 will continue in Topeka in January.

More than 40 studies are currently being done on the effects e-cigarettes and vaping has on the body. Dr. Vindhyal predicts those results will come out in five to 10 years.


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