Doctors notice younger patients with lung problems associated with older people

New CDC report shows teen tobacco use up in 2022
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 4:17 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2022 at 5:55 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Hospitals are dealing with more respiratory illnesses and now there is a new worry. New data shows more teens are using tobacco and one Lubbock-area doctor said that is leading to more long-term lung problems.

For pulmonologist Dr. Ximena Solis, the vaping trend was concerning, even before the pandemic.

“I had a patient while I was in training that was 19 years old and had to be listed for a lung transplant from a vaping-lung injury alone,” Solis said.

With more teens reporting vaping and smoking, Dr. Solis is worrying a bit more.

“We’re starting to see patients come in younger. I don’t know if it’s because people are smoking at a younger age or just the society we live in where we are exposed to more chemicals and fumes,” Solis said. “It could also be post-COVID, that is uprooting more diseases.”

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than 11 percent of U.S. teens say they are using tobacco products, mostly electronic cigarettes.

Related Link: More than 3 Million Youth Reported Using a Tobacco Product in 2022

Even though use is not new, this does come after a decrease in reported usage in the last few years.

“I think we’re seeing a younger patient population,” Solis said.

On top of that, she also sees sicknesses usually associated with older folks like COPD and emphysema in younger patients.

“I think the kids are more likely to pick up a vape,” Solis said. “They’re also coming up with flavors and different ways to addict these children to these substances.”

She added, getting addicted may not be entirely the kid’s fault. Some do not know the harm it could do to their lungs.

Regardless, there is still tons of concern for the future.

“Now, I’ve seen an uptick in people picking up cigarettes again and vaping of course,” Solis said. “Which is also very common but I’ve seen more younger people picking up cigarettes. I know everything goes in waves, but it’s a concerning one for the future.”