KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 – Researchers have discovered a rare case of lung scarring in an e-cigarette user, typically found in metal workers.
According to a report in the European Respiratory Journal, a Californian vaper was diagnosed with a condition known as hard-metal pneumoconiosis, despite having had no known exposure to working with hard metals such as cobalt or tungsten.
It is the first known case of metal scarring in the lungs, linked to vaping.
Researchers found cobalt as well as other toxic metals: nickel, aluminium, manganese, lead and chromium in the vapour released by the patient’s e-cigarette, which was used with cannabis oil.
It is thought the metals come from the heating coils found in vaping devices.
“This patient did not have any known exposure to hard metal, so we identified the use of an e-cigarette as a possible cause,” said Professor Kirk Jones, from the University of California, San Francisco, according to The Independent.
Dr Rupal Shah, who is part of the research team, said: “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.”
But other scientists disagree.
Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies and consultant in respiratory medicine at the University of Nottingham, was quoted as saying that there was no evidence of any cobalt particles in the lung samples and that claims made about vaping were wrong.
”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.”
The US is fighting an epidemic of lung diseases caused by e-liquids in vaping products, which has caused more than 2,290 cases as of November 21.