Nicotine, THC or Vitamin E oil may not be the primary factor in e-cig or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) — ScienceDaily


Early results of an experimental vaping study have shown significant lung injury from E-cigarette (eC) devices with nickel-chromium alloy heating elements. The findings were consistent, with or without the use of nicotine, vitamin E oil or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which have previously been thought to contribute to the life-threatening respiratory problem.

The early results, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association by researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine and the Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI), were observed during a larger study designed to explore the effect of e-cigarette and other vaping product use on the cardiovascular system. While conducting experiments, researchers observed eC or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) immediately after switching from a vaping device with a stainless steel heating element, to one that used nickel-chromium alloy (NC).

“The results were so impactful, we felt it imperative to release the initial findings early so that electronic cigarette users could be cautioned sooner, especially considering E-cigarette users are at increased risk of COVID-19,” stated senior author Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD, chief science officer for HMRI and professor of medicine at USC.

The switch in devices occurred in September 2019, when the eC device the team was using went off market and a substitute device was offered as an alternative. The new device was physically compatible with the original exposure system, but the heating element changed from stainless steel (SS) to a nickel?chromium alloy (NC).

“Within an hour of beginning an experiment, we observed evidence of severe respiratory distress, including labored breathing, wheezing and panting,” said Michael Kleinman, PhD, professor of occupational and environmental medicine at UCI School of Medicine and member of the UCI Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. “After analyzing lung tissue from subjects in the study, we found them