In August 2019 an unexplained, exponential rise in severe respiratory illnesses in previously healthy young adults, swept across America catching the attention of medical providers. Hospital admissions for lung injury increased 10-fold over two months’ time leaving practitioners scrambling for answers. All affected patients were found to have used e-cigarettes prior to symptoms and endorsed using nicotine and marijuana vape pens. The medical community quickly began to search for the cause of these vaping associated lung injuries. Understanding the mechanism of injury is important in order to assist in educating the public about the risks associated with e-cigarettes. The aim of this paper is to present the research, or lack thereof, surrounding the risks of electronic cigarettes and their association with severe lung injury. A thorough literature review was performed eliciting 12 appropriate studies. A conclusive causative agent for EVALI has not been identified but several possible culprits are Vitamin E Acetate, propylene glycol or glycerol and metal nanoparticles. Recommendations for future research, provider and patient education and policy change are provided.


Rhonda Cornell

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing


Allied Health and Nursing


Rights Statement

In Copyright