The lung injury cases associated with vaping products and e-cigarettes are increasing day by day. Recently, a case was reported in the European Respiratory Journal in which doctors discovered another reason as to why vaping can cause lung damage.
This is the first known case of an e-cigarette user who used to vape THC. The patient is a 49-year-old woman living in California and was diagnosed with a rare illness which is known as hard-metal pneumoconiosis. This condition is usually found with patients who work in the metal industry.
This condition causes lung scarring which results in chronic coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. When pathologists examined the woman’s lung tissue, it didn’t appear to be a regular case of vaping. Instead, they noticed lung injury in the form of damaged cells that had swallowed up other lung cells, causing bigger cells.
This pattern was similar to the condition of hard-metal lung illness. This lung injury is usually caused by inhalation of cobalt in particular which is common in mill workers due to their exposure with metal. The woman had no known exposure to working with metal but she was vaping cannabis for the past six months.
The scientists then tested the patient’s e-cigarette and discovered that cobalt and other toxic metals like manganese, lead, chromium, and aluminum were infused in the e-liquid.
Dr. Kirk Jones, a professor of pathology at the University of California, San Francisco, and his fellow researchers came to the conclusion that toxic metals that were found in the e-liquid leached from the heating coil in the vape pen.
This leaching is far more aggressive in vaping Marijuana as the vape pen must be heated to much higher temperatures to aerosolize THC than to aerosolize nicotine.
Dr. Rupal Shah, part of the research team, said: “This is the first known case of 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.
The damaged cause is usually inapparent to the people using vape products until the scarring becomes irreversible, as it did with this patient.
Researchers have advised avoiding cannabis oil but they still suggest that vaping is a better alternative to traditional cigarette smoking.
“There is nothing in this new paper that should change advice to smokers. If you smoke, switch. If you don’t smoke, don’t vape. And just as you wouldn’t buy unlicensed alcoholic drinks, don’t vape cannabis or other bootleg products.” said Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies and consultant in respiratory medicine at the University of Nottingham.
This case has added up to the evidence of lung damage and illness due to vaping. To conclude, not much has been researched about vaping and its side effects as it is a new way of smoking, people who do not vape should stay away from it but for the smokers out there, it is a much safer alternative than smoking cigarettes.