Two new studies from the University of Rochester Medical Center have uncovered an association between vaping and what researchers call ‘mental fog.’ 

According to the studies, both adults and children who vape were more likely to report difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions than their peers who don’t smoke or vape. Researchers said that it also appeared that kids were more likely to experience mental fog if they started vaping before the age of 14.

Dongmei Li is an associate professor at URMC and authored the study.

Gagandeep Kaur, Giuseppe Lungarella and Irfan Rahman / Journal of Inflammation

Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center has found evidence of why COVID-19 is worse for people who smoke and vape than for the rest of the population.

Irfan Rahman, who runs a lab at URMC that studies the effects of tobacco products on the lungs, said people who smoke and vape often have elevated levels of receptors for an enzyme called ACE2.

Karen DeWitt

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is again pressing for a ban on flavored tobacco-based vaping products, saying he hopes a law is passed in the next month. 

Cuomo and his health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, tried to ban the products in New York last fall after a widespread illness associated with vaping killed 60 people, including four in New York.

But the emergency order by a state panel was stopped in court after the vaping industry sued.

Irfan Rahman / University of Rochester Medical Center

When the federal Food and Drug Administration announced it was stepping up enforcement of its rules against flavored vape products last month, the agency said the goal was to diminish the products’ appeal to young people.

The FDA specifically named fruit and mint flavors as drivers of youth use of e-cigarettes.

But many of those flavors are still available in local vape shops.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The American Lung Association has given New York state a failing grade for its funding of tobacco prevention and control programs.

The association said that grade reflects a lack of spending on efforts to prevent youths from using e-cigarettes.

New England Journal of Medicine

An Ontario County woman has died in Monroe County from injuries related to vaping.

The state health department said the woman was in her 50s, but other details are still under investigation or are not available to the public due to patient privacy concerns.

The department said investigators do not yet know exactly what the woman was vaping.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New guidance this week from the federal Centers for Disease Control urges doctors to quickly connect patients hospitalized for vaping-related lung injuries with follow-up care after their release.

The recommendation comes after the CDC found that some people were having to be rehospitalized after their treatment for those injuries.

Nicholas Nacca, an assistant professor and medical toxicologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said when injury symptoms return, they can be fatal.

This year saw a surge in both youth use of e-cigarettes and a slew of not-quite-explained injuries from the products that sent dozens of people to hospitals in and around Monroe County.

Local researchers have been at the forefront of a national effort to figure out precisely how some vape products are injuring their users.

WXXI health reporter Brett Dahlberg has been following the trends this year and brings us an update on the science and the legislation around vaping.


With support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and many members of the state legislature, 2020 could be the year when New York legalizes the adult use of recreational marijuana.

But the issue has become complicated by a widespread lung ailment linked to vaping. 

A measure to legalize cannabis for adults was proposed in 2019, as part of the state budget. It did not make it into the final spending plan, and it failed to win enough support to pass as a standalone bill in the state Senate.

freeimages.com/Elena Gorgievska

New York state’s smoking age goes from 18 to 21 on Wednesday.

The American Lung Association and other advocates hope the measure will prevent and reduce tobacco use among young people amid a national youth vaping epidemic and an outbreak of severe lung disease in patients who have used e-cigarettes.