ROCHESTER, N.Y. (NBC) – The New York State Health Department released results from an investigation into vaping-related respiratory illnesses that have sickened 34 people in the state.
New York officials said lab tests showed a number of the recent lung illnesses have been diagnosed as lipoid pneumonia, a condition that occurs when inflammatory cells with abnormally high levels of fatty substances called lipids collect in the lungs.
Daniel Croft is an assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He explained how e-cigs make their way into human lungs: “The e-cigarette is really the vehicle to get it into your lungs. It heats an oil that is sitting either in a cartridge or the tank of an e-cigarette, and that is inhaled by the user into their body. So it’s able to aerosolize that, that lipid, it heats and aerosolizes it and the user is then able to inhale it into their lungs.”
Croft also talked about kind of dangers do those fat particles cause: “…it all depends on what’s inside of the liquid that’s going in. So the oil that has other chemicals, flavorings that are, that is contained within the oil, that then can coat the surfaces of the lungs and cause these inflammatory changes.”
Nationwide, there have been over 360 confirmed or suspected cases reported, while two people have died in Illinois and Oregon.