Additives may be cause of vaping-related lung illnesses

Modified e-cigarettes are popular among teenagers

Lesson #
September 12, 2019
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Over 450 people, mostly young, have fallen ill with lung disease after using electronic cigarettes. Five have died, including a 15-year-old in New York state. Public health authorities are scrambling to determine the specific cause of the illness, but many suspect it's due to a specific additive. While big brands like Juul don't use those additives, authorities are cautioning people not to use vaporizers. Plus, learn English phrasal verb "take up."


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Transcript

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If you’re an e-cigarette user, you’ll want to listen to this episode

Hi everyone, it’s Jeff and welcome once more to Plain English, the best podcast for learning English. JR is the producer and this is episode 189. You can find all the episode resources at PlainEnglish.com/189.

Coming up today: Over 450 people in the US have been hospitalized and five have died from a mysterious lung disease that authorities believe is due to smoking e-cigarettes. They think they might know the chemical behind the illnesses, but they’re not sure yet. Later on, we’ll talk about the English phrasal verb “take up” and we’ll close with JR’s song of the week.

Quick housekeeping item before we start. I realized that the RSS feed that populates many of your apps was only showing 100 previous episode. Spotify always showed them all, but Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Podcast Addict, and some of the other apps were only showing the last 100 episodes—that was a setting that I had inadvertently chosen in my media host. So many of you may not have been able to hear the very earliest episodes. I just want to let you know that I have taken the limit off the past episodes, so any app you have should now have all our episodes going all the way back to number one in October 2017. Sheesh! That was a long time ago!


Mysterious lung disease among e-cigarette consumers

If you use a vaporizer, or an electronic cigarette, with either nicotine or cannabis, listen up: a mysterious lung disease has affected over 450 people in the US, and has killed five. The US government agency in charge of public health is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Maryland. They said that the investigation into this lung disease is ongoing, but that people should consider not using e-cigarettes until they find out what’s causing the illnesses.

Related: Episode 56: Juul, a tool to quit smoking, is latest drug to hook American teenagers

The precise cause is unknown, and in cases like this, it can be complicated to isolate the causes of this disease from other illnesses a person might have. Patient privacy also plays a part in the uncertainty. The American state of Indiana said that someone “older than 18” died from the illness, while in Minnesota, an elderly person with a history of lung disease, died after vaping an illegal marijuana-related product. Other deaths in Illinois, Oregon, and California are also attributed to this disease. The 450 people afflicted by this disease are in 33 of America’s 50 states, so it is widespread.

What is it? Victims report experiencing coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath, but eventually their health deteriorated such that they needed to be hospitalized. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and weight loss. Most patients treated for this disease were otherwise young and healthy: in two states, they had a median age of 19. In North Carolina, they were all 35 and younger; in New York, they treated someone as young as 15. These are not ages at which people typically get lung disease.

Vaping among teenagers has taken off: in a survey released last year, 20 percent of high-school seniors said they had vaped recently, compared to 11 percent just two years ago. As we talked about in Episode 56, electronic cigarettes are advertised as a safer alternative to smoking the real thing—but many people who never smoked are taking up Juul and other e-cigarettes for the first time.

Most patients with this new mystery disease were not using Juul. Many patients were using some type of e-cigarette product with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, or another substance, though some reported only using an e-cigarette with nicotine in it. In New York, health officials are focused on a single ingredient that they said was found in all the suspicious cannabis-related e-cigarettes. The ingredient is Vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E is healthy if you take it as a supplement, but can be dangerous if inhaled. There’s a disease called lipoid pneumonia, which is caused when inflammatory cells collect in your lungs. Experts say there are two ways to get this type of pneumonia: you’re injured and some of your body’s fat cells accidentally wind up in your lungs; or you inhale oil. The Vitamin E acetate found in some e-cigarettes has oily characteristics.

This is only one of the potential causes; the CDC is testing samples for pesticides, opioids, and other toxins and poisons that might be in vaping products.

It’s still too early to tell what this is. Although 450 is a high number of cases, there’s too much variability, and not enough known data, to say conclusively what is causing it. However, e-cigarettes and vaping are the common thread among all the illnesses, so the authorities are advising people to not consume any type of e-cigarette until they get to the bottom of this illness.

Not everyone is going that far. Some of the more mainstream brands, like Juul, don’t use Vitamin E acetate or THC extract in their products. The dangers are more likely to come from smaller, untested brands, or from modified, black market e-cigarettes. In the US, recreational marijuana, including in e-cigarettes, is legal in some states but not in others. New York officials suspect that many of the vaping products that led to the disease there may have been counterfeits, or illegal copies of the inspected and regulated products available in other states, where marijuana products are legal. The US government is cautioning people against buying e-cigarettes or cartridges off the street or out of the back of a car, because they might have been modified in a dangerous way.


Yikes. I am not an e-cigarette user, but if I were, I certainly wouldn’t buy a modified or black market version. I remember writing that earlier episode about Juul thinking, people are going to consider this the answer to all their prayers—a way to safely get the nicotine high without smoking a dirty cigarette. A lot of people took up vaping as a way to get the nicotine high more safely, but a lot of people who never smoked started with Juul and other e-cigarettes. And I remember thinking, this is not going to end well—little did I realize that it would happen so quickly.

Are you an e-cigarette user? Do you think the latest diseases are all hype or are you worried about it? Tell me what you think in the comments of the transcript at PlainEnglish.com/189. Here’s a hint: that’s also a great way to practice your writing. I’m just saying.

A couple of hellos today: I heard from Luckson from Zimbabwe. He likes watching European football and the commentary is all in English, so that, among many other things, is one of his reasons for listening and practicing English. That was the first time I’ve ever heard from someone in Zimbabwe, so I wanted to make sure to say hello and thank you to Luckson. Ryuta from Japan says she has eliminated her frustration and has started to enjoy English ever since she started listening to this program in 2018. I am touched by those comments and JR and I are so proud to have had a part in that, Ryuta.

Are you getting the episode emails? They’re free and they come with some bonus content that we don’t put anywhere else. By signing up for the free emails at PlainEnglish.com/mail , you’ll get the definition of one additional word or phrase with every episode—that’s a rate of 104 per year if you stick with us for a year. You’ll also get links to articles about the main topic in English, so you can practice reading more about a topic you already know about. JR sends those emails out—he does a great job, so why not sign up to get them? Just visit PlainEnglish.com/mail to sign up for free today.

¿Hablas español?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into Spanish. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

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Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

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Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

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你说中国话?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

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Parlez-vous français?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Você fala português?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

日本語は話せますか?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Parli italiano?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sen Türkçe konuşmayı biliyor musun?

The transcripts of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Turkish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Mówisz po polsku?

The transcript of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Polish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

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