ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Several vaping related illnesses have been reported at a Southwest Georgia hospital.
The latest case was last week in Tifton.
A 25-year-old woman had to be placed in intensive care after using a strawberry flavored vape.
That illness is one of more than 400 reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) across the country.
South Georgia medical specialists said it’s best to stay away from vaping until we better understand it.
The CDC said at least seven deaths have been linked to vaping.
Pulmonary Medicine Specialist Dr. Rubal Patel at Tift Regional Medical Center said it’s the unknown factors of vaping making it a challenge to health care professionals.
Dr. Patel explained the situation with the patient in Tifton.
“There is no single blood test to prove that it actually came from it. But by process of elimination, it’s more of a diagnosis of exclusion. A young girl with no past medical history or risk factors for lung disease comes in significantly sick, close to being put on a mechanical ventilator and the only history we have is the history of vaping kind of led to that conclusion,” said Dr. Patel.
Patel said vaping is relatively new, so specialists don’t know the long-term effects.
That is why doctors said they can’t declare if vaping is healthier than cigarettes.
The owner of a vape shop in Albany said his shop has helped thousands of people stop smoking cigarettes.
The owner said “big tobacco companies” are to blame for the negativity brought to this industry.
“I know what I want, she’s got my red one,” said Cheryl Jones, who is a regular at the Vapor Corner in Albany.
“I like vaping, I like the result of it, the ease of it,” Jones explained.
What’s not easy, Jones said, is hearing plans working against vaping as deaths and illnesses show up in headlines.
“I think it’s, to me, the cigarette industry trying to get rid of the vaping because they haven’t been smart enough to get into it,” said Jones.
The CDC reports seven people have died and more than 400 people are suffering from a type of lung disease linked to vaping.
Vapor Corner owner Michael Summerlin said it’s what people put inside the vapes making them dangerous.
“There’s a different attachment that you can add to the battery and it allows you to do this dab wax and it’s sort of like a THC type deal and apparently that’s what this group of people have gotten sick from,” said Summerlin.
Summerlin and Jones said the government’s plan to ban vaping flavors is a play from big Tobacco companies.
“I think it’s a very dumb thing to do,” said Jones.
“They don’t care if they kill their customers, they really don’t care if they’ll lie to their customers,” said Summerlin.
Despite headlines, business at the Vapor Corner has been consistent and beneficial to customers.
“We’ve helped right at 10,000 people stop smoking,” said Summerlin.
It’s one reason Jones keeps coming back.
“I deal with reputable vendors like here,” Jones explained.
And Summerlin said those trying to suppress vaping should do more research.
“These things have been a blessing and a lifesaver for millions,” said Summerlin.
NBC reports following those recent deaths and illnesses across the country, big companies like CBS, Warner Media and Viacom have banned e-cigarette advertisements.