- Amanda Mac and Kenny Huynh
Vaping involves ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems), which use solvents to heat and aerosolize flavourants (also known as "juices"). Vaping is increasingly being used to deliver cannabis oils and concentrates. The mixing and aerosolization of these aldehyde and alcohol flavourants have been found to create new compounds which are sent to the lungs during inhalation.
The production of these new compounds has been linked to acute eosinophilic pneumonia, diffuse alveolar damage, and lipoid pneumonia. Lipoid pneumonia is an inflammatory response to the presence of lipids within the alveolar space and typically results from aspiration of hydrocarbons or oil-based products.
The first reported case of vaping-related illness in Canada occurred in September 2019. A young person in London, Ontario was put on life support due to suspected respiratory illness by vaping. Dr. Chris Mackle, medical officer and CEO of the Middlesex-London Health Unit stated at a press conference that the individual was using an e-cigarette at least once daily. About two weeks earlier, Health Canada issued a warning that vaping products can carry a risk of respiratory illness but there have been no reported vaping-related illnesses in Canada prior to this case.
The emergence of vaping-related illness leads to new questions - why are only a small number of people who vape currently developing respiratory illnesses and lung injuries? Does this illness progress gradually or rapidly? What does this mean long-term for people who develop vaping-related pulmonary illness and potentially, permanent lung damage? How are the aerosolized compounds created in ENDS exactly involved with causing vaping-related illness? Leave your thoughts down below!