Pulmonologists in the Netherlands report the first cases of an unknown lung disease among users of the electronic cigarette. The Dutch Association of Physicians for Pulmonary Diseases and Tuberculosis (NVALT) had this week conducted a survey among the 1100 members. Three reports were received within three days, the chairman tells Nieuwsuur.
“These are three people who had no major lung disease beforehand,” says Leon van der Toorn. “One patient had used e-cigarettes from his daughter and started coughing up blood very soon after, even though his lungs had never been damaged. No other cause for the problems was found.”
According to Van der Toorn, extensive research has been carried out into the complaints in all three cases. “Therefore we can say that the probability is very high that the use of the e-cigarette was related to it.” Because the survey has only just been launched, there may be more reports coming in.
Vaping in the USA
The direct reason for the investigation in the Netherlands is the news from the United States. There, hundreds of people suffer from a mysterious lung disease that is believed to be caused by the use of flavored e-cigarettes. Six people have now died of the disease.
“That makes us worry. 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 ingredients.” e-liquids with nicotine online to be found.
It is not yet clear whether the cases in the Netherlands are comparable to those in the US, said the chairman. “We hope that through our research we will discover more patterns and see what is going on here. It could be that the problems are different. 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 flavor, 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 best e-cigarette package is found online.
The e-cigarette was introduced as an alternative to the regular cigarette. “Because there is less nicotine in it, it would be easier for smokers to quit smoking. But now we see that a lot of young people start on the e-cigarette without ever having touched 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. But the e-cigarette actually has an odor. We have to look carefully at what is allowed in it and in the worst case we have to stop it.”
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 a ban on advertising 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. Then we will consider whether this will have consequences for the Netherlands.”