A group of doctors from the Mayo Clinic in the United States have published a report examining the lung tissue of people with vaping-related injuries.
This follows after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning over the potential dangers of vaping last month, as the number of people afflicted by vaping-related lung illnesses continued to rise.
This more recent study examined the pathology of vaping-related lung injuries by conducting lung tissue biopsies on 17 patients.
The doctors found that all patients showed severe damage to their lung tissue, with some exhibiting similar tissue damage to that seen in people exposed to chemical weapons such as mustard gas.
“All 17 of our cases show a pattern of injury in the lung that looks like a toxic chemical exposure, a toxic chemical fume exposure, or a chemical burn injury,” Dr Brandon T. Larsen told told The New York Times.
“To be honest, they look like the kind of change you would expect to see in an unfortunate worker in an industrial accident where a big barrel of toxic chemicals spills, and that person is exposed to toxic fumes and there is a chemical burn in the airways.”
Dr Larsen added that it is unclear whether e-cigarette users with these injuries will be able to fully recover.
“Based on the severity of injury we see, at least in some of these cases, I wouldn’t be surprised if we wind up with people down the road having chronic respiratory problems from this,” he said.
It should be noted that the majority of patients with vaping-related lung damage smoke electronic cigarettes with THC cartridges.
Researchers have not yet determined which compounds are responsible for these lung-related injuries, and the CDC has advised users to stop using e-cigarettes while its investigation is ongoing.