For quite some time vaping practitioners, scientists, as well as regulators didn’t consider the possibility of vaping leading to seriously damaged lungs. This is visible in the review of medical literature, government documents and interviews with doctors.
Stanton Glantz, a tobacco researcher at the Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education at the University of California, San Francisco said, “It’s fair to say that there were early warning signs that were missed. These cases have been reported for several years but nobody put two and two together because they were too isolated.”
Back in 2016, Roanoke, Virginia based doctors had to treat a 27-year-old e-cigarette user by putting him on a mechanical ventilator citing breathing problems that seemed to gradually worsen. The doctors labeled his condition “vapor lung” during a presentation at a medical meeting, which was held the same year.
On Tuesday, Anne Schuchat, who is a principal deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight & Reform, “We don’t know enough about the aerosol that vaping produces. It may be that the process itself is risky.”
In 2016, Farrah Kheradmand, who is a physician-researcher at Baylor College of Medicine visited a nearby vape shop to buy the most popular mixture of propylene glycol and glycerin and then tested it in mice for four months. They didn’t use flavorings or nicotine.
In 2017, one of Farrah’s graduate students made a strange revelation. The findings showed that the key immune cells in their mice were quite abnormal – teeming with fat just like the Portland doctors found in their patient.
Alexander Larcombe, the lead researcher says, “Breathing anything into the lungs other than air is probably not going to be good in the long term.”
If e-cigarettes were considered as a drug, detailed human studies on the safety would have been carried out before the product would have entered the market, said Maciej Goniewicz, a pharmacologist from New York.
Participants of this study are inquisitive about the safety of vaping products and which one is safer than another. Goniewicz said, “It is really hard to give any advice to them.”