The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has reported an alarming increase in the number of patients suffering from lung injuries associated with using e-cigarettes and vaping products. In North Carolina, there have been at least 61 reported cases. Researchers believe most of the problems are the result of additives in the smoking solutions, but they have not found a single product or source linked to all the cases.
North Carolina’s cases are just some of the many across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found at least 1,604 cases of injury and 34 deaths in the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These cases involve mostly younger people, but some of the injured have been as old as 72.
For many of the people affected, the injuries will cause chronic problems. Some will need long stays in the hospital, followed by long-term or even life-long outpatient treatment with antimicrobial or antiviral medications, as well as supplemental oxygen.
For many of these patients, their medical condition may improve, but they will be unable to work for months, years or perhaps for the rest of their lives. Benefits programs such as Social Security Disability, or SSD, and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, will be crucial in providing them with some income.
To be eligible for SSD benefits, a person must have sufficient work history. Thus, these benefits may not be available to younger people. They may have to rely on SSI or other forms of relief.
People who are suffering from the effects of lung injury or other conditions can speak with a Social Security Disability attorney about their options.