We already know the physical toll vaping e-cigarettes and vaping-associated acute lung injury inflicts on the lungs of young people. The statistics are horrific.

There have been 1,299 cases of vaping-associated acute lung injury throughout the United States as of Oct. 10. And 29 people are known to have died from vaping-related lung disease.

“I think it’s very risky to be engaging in vaping,” Dr. Maxwell Smith, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and co-author of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Oct. 2, said. This study found vaping-related lung damage in patients was similar to that seen after exposure to mustard gas in chemical warfare during World War I.

The chemicals in some vape products are linked to respiratory diseases. There is also strong reason to suspect vaping can lead to cancer or other chronic diseases.

Worse, e-cigarettes might be creating a new generation of nicotine addicts after decades of success in cutting down tobacco-smoking rates among American teens.

Health experts can now also confirm vaping can harm the brain development of young people.

“Nicotine (in vaping pods) is very damaging to the adolescent brain, which hasn’t finished maturing until age 24 or 25,” Dr. Rachel Boykan, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, asserted.

She said nicotine can also cause anxiety in young people, and can impair learning and shorten attention spans. THC, the compound in marijuana that produces the euphoric "high" has similar effects on the developing brain, she said.

Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, an East Hampton town board member, was “horrified” when she was doing research on vaping a few months ago and read that it can affect brain development.

“It’s hard to believe that a decision a 15-year-old is making could affect them for the rest of their lives,” Burke-Gonzalez, who has a 19-year-old daughter and 21-year-old son, said.

It’s becoming increasingly clear there likely are multiple causes of the vaping lung injuries because the types of illnesses vapers have are different, said Dr. Mina Makaryus, a pulmonologist at Northwell Health. He also said the very high temperature needed to heat the liquid could cause heat-related lung injuries.

The illness is spreading fast despite repeated warnings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health and federal authorities that pre-teens, teens and young adults refrain from smoking flavored e-cigs until health experts can pinpoint the ingredients causing this lethal epidemic.

What the lung injury cases have in common is the inflammation in the millions of air sacs in the patients' lungs. This inflammation makes it more difficult for oxygen to transfer to red blood cells, causing difficulty in breathing.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has marked e-cigarette use as a serious health epidemic in the U.S. due to growing number of people developing serious health problems linked to the electronic device. Pixabay