Noxious fumes suspected

Lung injuries from vaping are most likely caused by direct toxicity or tissue damage from noxious chemical fumes, according to a new Mayo Clinic study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers reviewed lung biopsies from 17 patients, all of whom had vaped and were suspected to have vaping-associated lung injury. The study was the first to examine a group of biopsies from patients with lung injury due to vaping. Researchers found no evidence of tissue injury caused by accumulation of lipids—fatty substances such as mineral oils—which has been suspected as a possible cause of the lung injuries associated with vaping.

“We were not surprised by what we found regarding toxicity,” said Brandon Larsen, senior author of the study. “We have seen a handful of cases, scattered individual cases, over the past two years where we’ve observed the same thing, and now we are seeing a sudden spike in cases.

“Everyone should recognize that vaping is not without potential risks, including life-threatening risks, and I think our research supports that,” he said.