Doctor warns about the dangers and unknowns of vaping after 6 people die

MILWAUKEE -- Hundreds have become sick and some people have died because of illnesses related to vaping. While it's happening across the country, several of the cases are right here in southeast Wisconsin.

They all have similar symptoms: shortness of breath, fever and rapid heart rate. It's unclear exactly what in the e-cigarettes is triggering the illnesses.

"What we're seeing now is really something that's very, very new," said Dr. Ted Gronski, Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center. "What's causing this in vaping fluid, we really don't know."

So far, six people have died from illnesses related to vaping. Hundreds of others across the country have become sick.

Dr. Ted Gronski is a pulmonologist at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center. His practice has treated some of those people.

Dr. Ted Gronski

"Those patients come in, typically have been young men, typically looking like a pneumonia, fever, chills shortness of breath, chest pain," said Dr. Gronski.

The problems have been serious and the exact cause is unknown.

Dr. Ted Gronski

"Some of those patients have gotten better on their own, others have required Corticosteroids," Dr. Gronski said.

Wednesday, Sept. 11 President Donald Trump announced plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes -- the proposal seen as a deterrent to keep younger people from vaping.

"We can't allow people to get sick and we can't allow our youth to be so affected," said Dr. Gronski.

It's a nationwide health concern for a habit that may soon be at a turning point.

"If these events provoke or prompt people to give up vaping, that's a good thing but I know nicotine is a very powerful addictive substance and it's hard to give up that habit," said Dr. Gronski.

Dr. Gronski said about 80 percent of those who have become ill have vaped THC oils, the other 20 percent have been store bought products. He's hoping in time, there will be a better understanding of what's causing people to get sick.