CDC Halted Tracking of Vaping-Related Lung Injuries in February 2020, Despite Peak in Cases

CDC halted national tracking of vaping-related lung injuries in 2020, raising concerns about identifying trends and informing policy. Experts urge resuming monitoring to prevent future cases, especially among youth.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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CDC Halted Tracking of Vaping-Related Lung Injuries in February 2020, Despite Peak in Cases

CDC Halted Tracking of Vaping-Related Lung Injuries in February 2020, Despite Peak in Cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stopped tracking a national outbreak of lung injuries related to vaping, known as e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injuries (EVALIs), in February 2020. This decision came despite the cases reaching their highest point in September 2019, according to a new article published in the journal Pediatrics.

The authors of the article, led by Dr. Carrie K. Barker, argue that lung injuries from vaping should once again be tracked at the national level. They describe why the United States should begin tracking cases again and provide recommendations for pediatricians regarding the prevention and management of EVALI.

The CDC cited declining cases and the identification of a link between EVALI cases and the vaping liquid additive vitamin E acetate as reasons for changing the reporting system. However, the COVID-19 pandemic was likely also a contributing factor in the decision to halt tracking.

Why this matters: The cessation of national tracking of vaping-related lung injuries raises concerns about the ability to identify changing patterns in cases and inform legislative changes. Renewed tracking efforts could provide increased opportunities for research and help prevent future cases of EVALI.

The article recommends the re-establishment of a national case registry to help identify changing patterns in cases, inform changes in legislation, and provide increased opportunities for research. The authors express optimism that the medical community and government can work together to prevent future cases of vaping-related lung injury. "The article recommends the re-establishment of a national case registry to help identify changing patterns in cases, inform changes in legislation, and provide increased opportunities for research," the authors state in the Pediatrics article.

As of April 2024, the CDC has not yet resumed national tracking of EVALI cases. The long-term impact of the decision to halt tracking in February 2020 remains to be seen, but the authors of the Pediatrics article emphasize the importance of continued monitoring and research to protect public health, particularly among youth and young adults who are most at risk for vaping-related lung injuries.

Key Takeaways

  • CDC stopped tracking national vaping-related lung injuries in Feb 2020.
  • Experts argue for resuming national tracking to identify case patterns.
  • CDC cited declining cases and vitamin E acetate link as reasons to halt.
  • Renewed tracking could inform legislation and enable more research.
  • CDC has not resumed national EVALI tracking as of April 2024.