COLUMBUS — The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has launched a new hotline to help connect people who are vaping with diagnostic and treatment options and cessation programs. The Ohio State E-Cigarette/Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) hotline number is 614-366-VAPE (614-366-8273).
This hotline has been established in response to the national outbreak of EVALI that’s causing respiratory illnesses and sometimes death.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued recommendations against using THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Vaping illness symptoms may include cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills or weight loss.
As of January 14, a total of 2,668 hospitalized EVALI cases, including 60 deaths, have been reported to the CDC from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands).
“With this new hotline, we’re connecting patients with the help they need to stop vaping,” Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief clinical officer for Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said. “If you’re vaping and aren’t ready to quit just yet, but want to learn more about the harmful effects of vaping, we can help. If you’re an e-cigarette user who wants to quit, or are worried about your potential lung injury, we can connect you to the right resources to help you.”
Based on the patient’s responses to triage questions asked during scheduling phone call, EVALI screening visits can be scheduled with the patient’s primary care physician or a pulmonologist. Patients with no symptoms who want to stop vaping will be referred to a tobacco cessation program.
The EVALI screening visit will include establishing the patient’s vaping history and overall health history, along with a physical exam, chest X-ray and initiating e-cigarette/vaping cessation counseling.
In addition to these clinical services, scientists at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, along with those at the, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, College of Public Health, College of Dentistry and College of Nursing are conducting vaping or tobacco-related research programs and clinical trials.
For example, three different Ohio State’s vaping research projects include studying how e-cigarettes affects the gums; how it affects the cranial growth and development of fetuses and how the lungs of e-cigarette users are affected with inflammation compared to traditional smokers, THC vapers and nonsmokers. Another study is examining e-cigarette device design and its associated health impacts.