Related lung injuries most likely caused by toxic chemical fumes

A primitive vaping kit. Image via Department of Defense. Public domain

A primitive vaping kit. Image via Department of Defense. Public domain

The lungs of people who developed severe lung illnesses from vaping look as though they have been chemically burned, say researchers from the Mayo Clinic. However, most deaths have been reported among older users.

Risks: Illnesses related to vaping has apparently claimed the lives of 16 people in the US. She added that the number of reported cases is rising at a "brisk case", and the cases typically involve "really serious injuries".

Larsen said he thinks it's likely that some people with vape-related illnesses-or who've otherwise suffered vape-related lung damage-could develop chronic respiratory diseases as a outcome.

The serious respiratory illnesses have prompted a health scare that has led United States officials to urge people to stop vaping, especially products containing THC - the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. However, investigators said they are not yet narrowing the scope of their probe.

So far, 87pc of the 86 people in IL and Wisconsin who got sick from vaping admitted to having used THC, but 71pc also reported using nicotine-containing products.

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"While this current outbreak is being investigated, the safest option is to refrain from using any e-cigarette or vape product", State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said in a statement Wednesday. The physicians' findings are based on samples of lung tissue taken from 17 patients, all of whom have suffered variants of lung disease believe to be caused or exacerbated by e-cigarette abuse. All of the patients reported a history of vaping, and 71% reported vaping marijuana or cannabis oils.

Researchers looked at biopsies from 17 patients from all over the country, predominately males, ranging in age.

They diagnosed all five with lipoid pneumonia. According to the study, though, none of the 17 patients examined showed any sign of lipid pneumonia. "It seems to be some kind of direct chemical injury, similar to what one might see with exposures to toxic chemical fumes, poisonous gases and toxic agents", Dr. Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said in a hospital press release.

"This is a public health crisis, and a lot of people are working frantically around the clock to find out what the culprit or culprits could be - and what chemicals may be responsible".

"We were not surprised by what we found, regarding toxicity", said Larsen, senior author of the study.

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