RIT lab researching vaping amid recent death

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The first death linked to e-cigarettes has happened in Illinois and that concerns researchers here in Rochester

It’s the first time health officials have linked a death to e-cigarettes and it appears more may be coming.

22 people in Illinois are facing respiratory illness and one has died. All linked to vaping or electronic smoking devices.

“We know this individual had significant severe respiratory illness. he died while hospitalized.//at this time here in Illinois we do not know what is contributing to these respiratory illnesses. the common link among our 22 cases is all individuals have reported history of recent vaping or use of electronic devices,” said Dr. Jennifer Layden/IDPH chief medical officer.

This is concerning to researchers in Rochester. At the Rochester Insitute of Technology respiratory and technology lab, researchers are working to uncover how people use these devices, what’s in them, and if they are a safe substitute for cigarettes.

Lab director Risa Robinson and her team have designed special devices to do just that.

“We designed monitoring devices that go into their natural environment, they take home these monitoring devices measure how many puffs they take when they take the puffs,” said Robinson.

This is important because according to Robinson-

“People use electronic cig very differently then they use cigarettes and as I, what I mentioned before is they will take puffs, some of them, we call it grazing and they just puff all day long,” said Robinson.

Because there are multiple chemicals in the liquid used for vaping, the lab looks at how these chemicals mix and their effect on users.

“The act of aerosolization and the heating that’s happening to the e-liquid itself is generating chemicals that aren’t there in the initial base e-liquid,” said Robinson.

The research being done at the RIT respiratory lab will be used to help the Federal Drug Administration create regulations for vaping and electronic cigarette products.

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