A new case study in Europe warns that e-cigarettes and other similar devices can cause scar formation in the lungs, usually found only in metalworking workers,media reported. The European Lung Foundation has published the study. The study noted that hard metal lung disease, a rare lung disease caused by inhalation of hard metal powder, was found in people who used e-cigarette devices.
Hard metals include tungsten and cobalt. Work exposed to these metal particles may occur in work involving forming them, such as in people who make dentures or sharpen tools. E-cigarettes can also expose people’s lungs to these harmful particles, paving the way for severe and rare lung disease, according to new research.
Scars caused by hard metal lung disease cause breathing difficulties and cannot be cured. It is believed that the patients detailed in the newly disclosed case study were the first to be identified as having the disease, linked to the use of e-cigarettes rather than metal products.
Researchers studying the case tested e-cigarettes used by patients and found that their vapors contained toxic metals, including lead, chromium, cobalt, nickel, manganese and aluminum. Because of the way these devices are constructed, many other e-cigarette products may share similar heating coils. High temperatures vaporize liquid solutions, but can also produce toxic metal vapors that can be inhaled.
According to one of the researchers behind the case study, it is particularly worrying that exposure to inflammation caused by metal in these e-cigarette users is only noticed when they develop irreversible lung scars. E-cigarettes are not recommended by the European Respiratory Society as a way to quit smoking due to the risk of exposure to cobalt.