How Vaping can cause chronic 'popcorn lung' injury too

Grant Boone
November 24, 2019

While there are concerns about the use of diacetyl in the e-liquid, Cancer Research UK, said in 2018 that "there is no good evidence" that vaping may cause "popcorn lung".

Following a series of X-rays and CT scans, medics diagnosed the teenager with bronchiolitis obliterans, or "popcorn lung".

Popcorn Lung was named after the similar lung damage caused to workers at a microwave popcorn factory.

They write in Thursday's edition of The Canadian Medical Association Journal that the 17-year-old boy went from being in flawless health to being on life support after just five months of regular vaping.

Bosma says what she saw on his imaging didn't follow the usual pattern of vaping-related lung injury that has emerged in recent months, particularly in the United States.

The patient developed a severe cough that caused him to seek medical attention, according to the report.

Docs discovered that within the 5 months prior, he had began vaping closely day by day utilizing a mixture of flavoured e-cigarette oils purchased on-line. The products came with different flavors: "green apple", "dew mountain" and "cotton candy".

As the patient's symptoms progressed, he eventually had trouble breathing, malaise and nausea.

The teen's health worsened so much that he was put on the ECMO machine and was breathing via the artificial lung.

Fearing he might need a lung transplant, the team transferred the teen to a regional transplant centre in Toronto.

The article outlines his hospitalization in early 2019, during which he spent time on life support and narrowly averted a double-lung transplant. His parents told the doctors he also had a habit of inhaling deeply when vaping.

As of November 20, 2019, 2,290 cases of EVALI have been reported in the USA, with 77 per cent occurring in patients under 35 years of age.

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His condition resembled what medical professionals describe as "popcorn lung" due to its prevalence among factory workers producing microwave popcorn.

Although diacetyl is safe to eat, it can be deadly to inhale.

The new case report comes as no surprise to Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, director of the Tobacco Treatment Clinic at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

The teen's case differs from other vaping-related injuries, according to the study.

"For me, this case is not surprising, not unexpected and it goes along with the acute toxicity that we see from vaping happening in the most fragile parts of the lungs", said Galiatsatos, who is also a spokesperson for the American Lung Association.

The nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans. In this case, however, Martinu said the teen's alveoli was relatively unaffected.

"We know that vaping is seen in a younger population, is often targeted to a younger population", Landman says. "This is our own new generation of lung diseases".

"The type of lung injury our patient suffered is different from the pattern of injury seen in the outbreak of cases in the U.S., meaning that there is more than one way vaping can harm the lungs", said lead researcher Dr Karen Bosma, an associate scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario. The only state without a case is Alaska. THC is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects.

Lawmakers in the USA are looking at banning flavoured liquids for e-cigarettes which they say deliberately target and attract young people.

NY state investigators are testing vaping devices to see which compounds may be causing the lung illness.

'This would be classified as severe obstruction, ' lead author Karen Bosma, associate scientist at Lawson, said in an interview.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to update its weekly tally of vaping-related illnesses nationwide later Thursday.

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