Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rare form of Pneumonia linked to e-cigarettes

Not a day goes by where this blog isn't spammed by an e-cigarette company. Whenever asked about e-cigarettes, I will tell the person to ask their doctor about the nicotine inhaler. It is a similar concept to the e-cigarette but with several important diffierences:

  • Inhaler is regulated by the FDA, e-cigarettes are not regulated by anyone. A user is trusting that  the manufacturer is correctly stating what is contain in its product. There is no oversight.
  • Inhaler has evidence based studies showing it's effectiveness in becoming smoke-free, e-cigarettes have no independent studies and cannot be advertised as a cessation devise.
  • Inhaler has strict manufacturing standands, e-cigarettes have no manufacturing standards or guidelines. A defective battery exploded in one users face. 
  • Inhaler has been proven to be safe. A prescription is required because of the risk of addiction due to the speed of delivery of the nicotine.
This last point is very important because the safety of e-cigarettes has not been established. Recently a rare form of pneumonia has been linked to the use of e-cigarettes due to the use of an oil based substance to create the vapor.

Exogenus lipoid pneumonia is very rare. It is usually seen in elderly patients who use mineral oil laxatives. The lipids (fats or oils) are inhaled into the lungs. Proplene gycol, glyercin and nicotine are the main ingredients, although other substances have been found in a small study done by the FDA. Glyercin is an oil-based substance which is inhaled into the lungs when using an e-cigarette, which appears to cause this rare form of pneumonia in some users. 

More research needs to be done but until then--it's buyer beware when using e-cigarettes. You don't want to end up like the guy in Florida who had part of his face blown off when the battery exploded (again, no manufacturing standards). 

The advantage to many people trying to quit is that the e-cigarette is shaped and feels like a cigarette in your hand. It may work great for that but it doesn't mean you  need to inhale it or turn it on. A prop works just as good or better yet, talk to your doctor about the nicotine inhaler. 


Arret Du Tabac said...

very helful blog about how to quit or stop the smoking. I read your blog and apply...

vaporizers said...

Very true that smoking kills badly and it does no good to body instead harms it badly so just quit it instead of going the other way.

amylynnechi said...

Ya im in the hospital now with pneumonia, just a little over a week after using the e cigarette! I never would have linked the 2. And i get 2 miss my sons birthday tomorrow!

VJ Sleight, Queen of Quitting said...

AmyLynnEchi--I'm sorry to hear you are ill. I hope your hospital stay is a short one andyou recover quickly. VJ

Crystal Wells said...

My brother smoked the vapor cigarettes for about 6 months . The morning of April 2nd he was found dead on the couch. He had passed away in his sleep. This last week the autopsy, toxicology. and histology results came back. Pneumonia with pulmonary hemorrhage. He was 30 years old and healthy as a could be. He was an avid jiu jitsu teacher and fighter. His symptoms were no more than cough and a little tired. He had a Dr appointment that morning. The vapor cigarettes contributed to my brother's death. No doubt about it. I will do everything I can to prove the connection in an attempt at justice for Brandon and prevention of someone else's death.

VJ Sleight, Queen of Quitting said...

I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your brother Brandon.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to share my story after I read some of your stories.

I am 34 y/o female who has smoked for over 20 years. A couple of months ago I was in the hospital for pulmonary hypertension. It is a lack of oxygen to one lung making that portion of my heart enlarged. The doctors said as long as I quit smoking and exercise I could maintain the issue and prevent it from getting worse. I had a full run of chest xrays and other tests done and there was no evidence of any issue within the lungs themselves.

Flash forward a couple of weeks and my husband finally talked me into Ecigs. I will admit after about a week of smoking the ecig (not the ones that look like a real cig, the one you add juice to a hookah looking device) I felt a world of difference better with breathing. During this time I had no desire to go back to cigarettes and my husband began to recruit smokers into what I like to call his "Vap Army".

About two weeks into smoking the Ecig I began to notice a change in bowels, began to get leg cramps (the ones where you stretch but can not stretch enough), I chalked it all up to my body no longer inhaling all of the same chemicals that are found in regular cigarettes to something less abrasive.

During the 2-3 week period on E-Cigarettes I began to get the chills shivering badly for a couple of hours, then I would be over heated and sweating. This proceeded for a couple of days with no other symptoms and I continued to vap.

A few days later I had no desire to even smoke the vap and felt my body aching all over which is when I began to cough up blood. I went to the ER who listened to my lungs and told me they sounded clear there was n gurgling. However, they wanted to give me a chest xray to rule out a pulmonary embolism that may have similar symptoms. The xray confirmed that there was something in my right lung but once again they were not convinced it was pneumonia because there was no crackling in my lungs. I was sent for a CAT scan that would confirm it was pneumonia.

I should add that prior to me vaping my husband had gotten sick for about a week and we thought it was a coincidence or from the change.

I had a few doctors that I spoke to in the hospital to try and figure out what the cause could of been.

One doctor said there is no way it had anything to do with Ecigs.

Doctor number two said that it could be that from quitting cigarettes that my lungs began to repair themselves. This left my lungs in a vulnerable state during this period and I just happened to catch the bug.

Doctor number three told me that I was in range with someone who was sick and instead of my infection stopping in my throat or bronchial tubes, it made its way to my lungs.

Doctor number four was very concerned when he listened to my lungs after a few days of antibiotics, breathing treatments, oxygen that there was no crackling in my lungs. I then informed him there was never crackling in my lungs. He did not give me much insight on what had caused as he was about how to get it to go away.

The people I know personally that vap most commonly complain of dehydration, and change in bowels.

I am completely unbiased in the situation because regardless or not if Ecigs did have a part in this case of pneumonia, it served its purpose and I have been smoke free of anything for over a month now with no desire to smoke again.

I in no way shape or form recommend smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes. I highly recommend any sign of an infection you seek medical attention and no use the internet as your primary diagnoses for anything.

I am still sick but have some doctor appointments coming up. If anything changes I will keep you posted.

VJ Sleight, Queen of Quitting said...

Congratulations on quitting and I'm sorry you are having such health problems. I hope that everything resolves and your good health returns.
The jury is still out of e-cigs, more research needs to be done on both the short and long term effects. So far there have just been anecdotal stories so no one really knows if e-cigs would have had anything to do with your health issues. Good luck and keep in the loop.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Congratulations yourself! I just read your bio and wow cancer at 32. I am glad that you were able to overcome the cancer and smoking. I commend you for taking the steps to help others quit smoking.

It is amazing to me that as an ex smoker I knew how bad cigarettes were but I think it was the case "it will never happen to me". As I grew older I began to feel what smoking was doing to me but continued to smoke. I think smoking was a sense of security, not to sure. I will say even as sick as I am I still feel better than when I smoked.

Robert Cranfield, MD said...

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is not an oil. It is derived from vegatable oils, but it is in fact in the family of alcohols. As such, it cannot cause lipoid pneumonia.

VJ Sleight, Queen of Quitting said...

When is vegetable oil, not an oil? From the page you posted: "Glycerin, also known as glycerol, is an organic compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen with the chemical formula C3H8O3. It is produced industrially, usually as a by-product of soap manufacture, from oils and fats. It can be made from animal fat or, in the case of vegetable glycerin, vegetable oil. "