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Vaping linked to rare lung condition

Thursday December 5th, 2019

Leading lung specialists have called for health authorities to withdraw approval for vaping as the first evidence emerged of a new kind of lung damage caused by the practice.

A report today identifies a patient who developed hard-metal pneumoconiosis after developing a vaping habit. The disease is an occupational illness caused by working with hard metals such as cobalt or tungsten.

US doctors report the case today in the European Respiratory Journal.

Vaping and e-cigarettes have divided the medical professional globally and the UK NHS gives tacit approval to it as an effective way for smokers to abandon their habit.

But today Professor Jørgen Vestbo, of the University of Manchester, UK, representing the European Respiratory Society, said: "There are a number of new studies showing that vaping affects the lungs and, in addition, we are now beginning to see patients diagnosed with acute vaping-related lung disease.

“E-cigarettes are harmful, they cause nicotine addiction and can never substitute for evidence-based smoking cessation tools. The medical profession as well as the public should be concerned about a new wave of lung diseases caused by a product which is heavily promoted by the tobacco industry.”

Reporting the case, Dr Rupal Shah, of the University of California, San Francisco, USA, said: “Exposure to cobalt dust is extremely rare outside of a few specific industries. This is the first known case of a metal-induced toxicity in the lung that has followed from vaping and it has resulted in long-term, probably permanent, scarring of the patient’s lungs.

“We think that only a rare subset of people exposed to cobalt will have this reaction - but the problem is that the inflammation caused by hard metal would not be apparent to people using e-cigarettes until the scarring has become irreversible, as it did with this patient.”

Giant cell interstitial pneumonia secondary to cobalt exposure from e-cigarette use. Eur Respir J 5 December 2019

https://doi.org/10.1183/13993003.01922-2019

Tags: Drug & Alcohol Abuse | Europe | North America | Respiratory | UK News

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