December 2, 2015

Link between vaping and hypersensitivity pneumonitis presented at CHEST

E-cigarettes have become a popular alternative to smoking, however their potential adverse health effects are not completely understood. Good, Bad, and Ugly on Vaping was presented at the 81st CHEST Annual meeting in late October and discussed a patient who had no significant medical history and developed hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) as a result of e-cigarette use.

The 23-year-old morbidly obese male presented to the Emergency Department with worsening productive cough, rust-coloured sputum and shortness of breath. The patient admitted to using an e-cigarette device for the last six months.

The patient’s flu-like symptoms, atypical radiological findings, bronchoscopic finding and lung biopsy results were all consistent with hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). The patient improved rapidly after he stopped smoking an e-cigarette and with steroid treatment was discharged home.

E-cigarette use has been rapidly increasing as a means to quit smoking, however the FDA does not currently regulate these products.

Lung Foundation Australia strongly urges relevant government agencies to further regulate access to e-cigarette devices and components, nicotine-filled cartridges, and non-nicotine cartridges.

Lung Foundation Australia said there was currently not enough evidence to suggest the use of e-cigarettes as an effective smoking cessation tool over current recommended strategies including pharmacotherapy and clinical counselling. However, this could change as more research is published on this subject.

Public perception that e-cigarettes are a ‘healthier’ alternative to smoking should not be misunderstood to mean they are ‘healthy’.

While there are fewer toxins in an e-cigarette than in traditional cigarettes, there are no long-term studies on the safety of e-cigarettes and concern has been expressed about the small particles inhaled when “vaping” and their health impact, particularly on youth.

We simply don’t know enough about how they work and the possible risks or benefits at this stage, which is why we advocate a cautious, regulated approach to their use.

For more information on Good, Bad, and Ugly on Vaping click here.

To read Lung Foundation Australia’s position statement on e-cigarettes, click here.

Source: The Limbic