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Vaping and Lung Disease

Vaping and Lung Disease

Vaping has become extremely popular in the last few years in part because it has been promoted as “a safe alternative to cigarettes”.  Currently 1/3 of all high school students report “some use” of vaping.

Unfortunately, hundreds of individuals have been hospitalized and died with an acute lung disease.  The most common cause of this lung disease is lipoid pneumonia which can affect multiple lobes of the lungs and lead to respiratory failure.  This form of disease seems to occur if the vaping material contains Vitamin E acetate, which is an unnecessary additive.

The two other forms of lung disease are acute eosinophilic pneumonia which is actually a severe allergic reaction to an excipient in the inhaled material.   A variety of excipients are available to promote usage such as fruit and candy flavors.  The second form of lung disease is cryptogenic organizing pneumonia.  This is a bit harder to diagnose and understand, but basically inhaling chemical and possibly infectious particles through the electronic system can allow direct and deep penetration of the pathogens into the lungs.

In all three forms of lung injury the patient becomes extremely short of breath and may need to be placed on a ventilator.  CT scans often show “diffuse white out” of the lung fields; that is, diffuse pneumonia.