Smoking cessation hotline calls soar 20 percent with vaping concerns

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- One of the nation's leading smoking cessation programs Optum said back in 2015, just five percent of hotline calls were about vaping but in the last few weeks calls have shot up 20 percent.

While some people are trying to quitting, others are dedicating themselves to learning about the health impacts.

Long before the CDC and FDA started investigating the vaping crisis, UNC has been on the forefront.

There are a handful of different studies going on right now and some date back six years giving researchers have a better look at the potential long-term impacts of puffing on a pen.

RELATED: Doctors warn vaping illness symptoms similar to flu

"E-cigs are not without health effects, period," said UNC researcher Dr. Ilona Jaspers.

"They've collected a very extensive amount of samples, including lung samples from patients over the last several years, even before this epidemic started," said UNC Pulmonologist Dr. Brad Drummond.

One study finds vaping, like smoking, may promote emphysema.

Jaspers said the study she's working on finds inhaling flavored options like mango, strawberry and watermelon can lead to immune deficiency and hinder the body's ability to clear infections.
The CDC recently activated its Emergency Operations Center to look into the epidemic.

More than two dozen people died from vaping-related lung injuries and more than a thousand were hospitalized. --use among teens is sharply rising.

ABC11 was told it's been hard for researchers to respond to the crisis with this rapidly moving field.

"Now, they're able to go back and look at those samples, and investigate some of new observations and theories that are coming out with these new electronic cigarettes," said Dr. Drummond.

RELATED: Wisconsin 2nd-grader caught vaping at elementary school

Doctors are continuing to encourage folks to quit vaping.

There are several programs out there to help.

Quitline NC even had a webcoach available 24 hours a day.

You can also call the 24/7 telephone service at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-Dejelo-Ya (1-855-335-3569) for help in Spanish.
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