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E-cigarette users report complaints to pulmonologists’

Pulmonologists in the Netherlands report the first cases of an unknown lung disease in electronic cigarette users. The Dutch Association of Physicians for Pulmonary Diseases and Tuberculosis (NVALT) had this week conducted a survey among its 1,100 members. Three reports were received within three days, the chairman tells Nieuwsuur.

“It concerns three people who did not have major lung disease beforehand,” says Leon van der Toorn. “A patient had used his daughter’s e-cigarettes and very soon afterwards started coughing up blood, while he had never had anything wrong with his lungs. No other cause for the problems was found.”

According to Van der Toorn, extensive investigations have been carried out into the complaints in all three cases. “We can therefore say that there is a very high probability that the use of the e-cigarette had something to do with it.” Since the survey has only just been turned off, there may be more reports coming in.

Vaping in the USA

The immediate reason for the investigation in the Netherlands is the news from the United States. There, hundreds of people are suffering from a mysterious lung disease believed to be caused by the use of flavored e-cigarettes. Buy the best e liquids online for a cheaper price. Six people have now died from the disease.

“That makes us concerned. Although those concerns have actually been there from the beginning of the arrival of the e-cigarette,” says Van der Toorn. According to him, this has to do with the possible components of the e-cigarette. “We don’t know at all what happens when you vaporize and inhale those components.”

It is not yet clear whether the cases in the Netherlands are comparable to those in the US, according to the chairman. “We hope to discover more patterns through our research and see what’s going on here. It could be other problems. Therefore, more research is needed.”

When smoking an e-cigarette, also called vaping, a liquid is vaporized and inhaled. The liquid can contain anything: a flavour, nicotine or THC and a solvent. The rules for e-cigarettes in Europe are much stricter than in America. In the US there is sometimes almost three times more nicotine than is allowed here in Europe. The e-cigarette was once introduced as an alternative to the regular cigarette. “Because it contains less nicotine, it would be easier for smokers to quit smoking. But now we see that a lot of young people start e-cigarettes without ever touching a normal cigarette.”

According to Van der Toorn, the e-cigarette has a wrong image. “They look beautiful. They have beautiful colors and nice smells. e cigarettes are the best. But the e-cigarette actually has a smell. We have to look carefully at what may be in it and in the worst case we have to stop it.”

Blank packaging

State Secretary Paul Blokhuis for Public Health says in a response that all kinds of steps are already being taken to reduce the e-cigarette. “Young people under the age of 18 are not allowed to buy e-cigarettes. There is an advertising ban for e-cigarettes and the packaging will soon be completely blank.”

The ministry also maintains contact with the American FDA inspection service. “He is now investigating the harmfulness of e-cigarettes. We are very curious about the results. I do not rule out that this will also lead to a reconsideration for us. Then we will consider whether this will have consequences for the Netherlands.”