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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A local doctor's medical study is drawing a lot of attention over the link between a patient's diagnosis eight years ago and the hundreds of lung illnesses associated with vaping across the country.

Over a month ago, the CDC launched a multi-state investigation. Many of the patients are battling lipoid pneumonia, essentially oil in a patient's lungs, but it isn't the first time doctors have seen cases like these.

Dr. Catherine Markin, a pulmonologist at Legacy Health, and two of her colleagues authored a study in 2012 involving a 42-year-old woman treated in Portland at Good Samaritan Hospital for lipoid pneumonia. It was the first reported case in which doctors hypothesized there may be a link to vaping.

"The only association we could find was the vaping, and she was vaping usual vape juice that had glycerin in it. And so we hypothesized at the time, her hypoxic respiratory failure was associated with vaping," said Markin.

She believes there's been such an overwhelming increase in lung illnesses partly because vaping has become more popular, and also because physicians are recognizing it.

"I think there’s something else. I think there’s truly something different out there because, otherwise, I don’t think we would see this tremendous increase in cases being reported," Markin said.

Officials haven't been able to narrow down any one substance causing these lung disease cases. The FDA says many of the samples they've tested contain significant amounts of Vitamin E acetate.

Markin found glycerin in her case study, which is more commonly used, she says, and comes from vegetable fat. Both are used to thicken the vaping juice.

Even with her research and recent investigation, Markin says they still don't know the longterm effects of vaping.

"I’m actually pretty excited that there’s a lot of attention, and so I’m very hopeful that things are going to happen," she said.

The CDC announced Thursday an updated number of lung disease cases associated with e-cigarette use. 380 people have developed a breathing illness. The number of people who have died remains at six, including one in Oregon. The CDC says it expects those numbers to rise.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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(2) comments


How can you consider smoking sugar vapor safe? The sugar will crystalize in your lungs and kill you!

Try this out. With a popcorn maker, add 3 Tbs oil, 1 TBS sugar, 4 TBS popcorn and heat to pop the corn. (the resulting kettle corn is my favorite) Check out the sticky substance left on the surface of the popcorn maker, it is condensed sugar. Think of how dangerous this would be if you inhaled sugar vapor into your lungs and it condenses into sugar crystals in your lungs. No wonder 24 people have been killed after vaping sugary smoke!

Imagine how dangerous it is to inhale sugar vapor and have it condense into sugar in your lungs. It takes 30+ years to die of cancer, but only 7 years when mining coal without lung protection and 24 people died in less than a year from smoking sugar!


I am a cannabis vape user or was at one time. Would get this condition every few months and it's a watery, nasty cough. Stopped with the capes and never had the problem since. Went back to using the Volcano.

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