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Pulmonologist Amir Zeki honored for anti-vaping efforts

Amir Zeki

(SACRAMENTO) — UC Davis Health pulmonologist Amir A. Zeki was recently honored by the Sacramento County Tobacco Control Coalition for speaking to local youth and community groups about the dangers of using e-cigarettes, or vaping. He also is helping the coalition with an educational video on the dangers of e-cigarettes. 


Amir Zeki

Zeki was one of 13 honorees at the coalition’s annual recognition ceremony. This year, it was a virtual event on Nov. 12. The event showcases the coalition’s accomplishments in reducing tobacco use in the region, along with community members who support those efforts. The 2020 awards highlighted those who are reducing tobacco use among youth and communities of color. 

“I am glad to have the opportunity to educate patients and the public about the dangers of tobacco smoke on the lungs and to address some of the misconceptions regarding e-cigarettes,” Zeki said. 

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., and e-cigarette use among youth and young adults is increasing at an alarming rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

“All forms of tobacco use pose a major risk to human health and that includes e-cigarettes, which also have toxic components,” Zeki said. 

Zeki’s outreach interests were inspired by a patient. In early 2018, he identified vaping-induced pneumonitis and respiratory failure in that patient. This was well before the now well-known condition called EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury) was officially identified by the CDC in August 2019. The patient survived, and appears with Zeki in an educational video to be released soon by the coalition.

In his subspecialty pulmonary clinic, Zeki treats patients with chronic airway diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. His lab investigates the roles of metabolic and lipid pathways that regulate airway inflammation in these diseases and new medications that could improve symptom control. He believes in a compassionate and educational approach when encouraging patients who use tobacco to quit, and in providing evidence-based resources to help them do so.

More information about UC Davis Health, including its pulmonary team and tobacco-cessation programs, is at