Healthy You Podcast

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A national outbreak of severe lung injuries had investigators scrambling to find out what could sicken and kill healthy young patients. NorthShore toxicologist Jerrold Leikin, MD, explains the shadowy, deadly world of black market vaping.

Show Notes

The patients began showing up in emergency rooms last spring, at first in Wisconsin and Illinois, then across America. Most of them were young men, struggling in vain to suck air into their lungs. At first glance, their symptoms resembled severe pneumonia - but there was no infection or virus to blame.  This deadly mystery illness trailed back to the one thing most of the users had in common: Vaping black market THC oils.
 
In today’s episode of the Healthy You podcast, we dive into the frightening vaping epidemic that sickened more than 2,700 people and killed 60 as of January 21, 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In November, the CDC said Vitamin E acetate was, “a very strong culprit” in the “e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) cases. Vitamin E acetate is an oily, sticky chemical that black market cannabis suppliers added to THC vaping liquids to thicken or dilute them. THC is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis that gives the high sensation.
 
Our guest today is Jerrold Leikin, MD, a toxicologist for NorthShore University HealthSystem, who has treated a half-dozen of these patients. Dr. Leikin is board certified in emergency medicine, internal medicine, medical toxicology and addiction medicine.

He has presented over 190 abstracts at national meetings, and has published over 200 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals. He is the co-editor of the Poisoning and Toxicology Handbook and the American Medical Association Handbook for first aid and emergency care. He is currently on staff at 8 hospitals, 4 medical schools and 3 poison centers.

Find out more at http://www.northshore.org/healthy-you/
 
Produced by Jon Hillenbrand and Carolyn Starks.  Mixed by Jon Hillenbrand.


What is Healthy You Podcast?

Hear from doctors and other medical experts about trending topics in healthcare from issues making headlines to the latest developments in medicine and healthy living. Produced by NorthShore University HealthSystem.