Vaping suspected of severely injuring lungs of 8 Wisconsin teens, doctors say

/ CBS/AP

Lawmakers accuse Juul of Big Tobacco tactics

Doctors suspect vaping caused severe lung damage in eight teens from southeastern Wisconsin hospitalized over the last month. The teenagers from Milwaukee, Waukesha and Winnebago counties were brought to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin with extreme cough, shortness of breath and fatigue.

The hospital says the number of patients in such a short time frame is concerning, CBS affiliate WDJT reports. Some patients needing assistance in order to breathe, the hospital said.

Hospital officials said Thursday that some of the teens had lost weight from vomiting and diarrhea.

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Meiman with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said it's unclear what exactly the teenagers admitted to Children's Hospital had inhaled. He says in early interviews teens mentioned nicotine and THC, the part of marijuana that gives its high.

Many of the teens responded to steroid treatment and were released without the need for supplemental oxygen at home. One remained hospitalized.

Meanwhile, a top executive for Juul Labs said that his company never intended its electronic cigarettes to be adopted by underage teenagers, as House lawmakers on Thursday accused the company of fueling the vaping craze among high schoolers.

Co-founder James Monsees testified that Juul developed its blockbuster vaping device and flavor pods for adult smokers who want to stop. He acknowledged statistics showing "a significant number of underage Americans are using e-cigarettes, including Juul products."

First published on July 26, 2019 / 9:29 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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