Health & Studies

Case Study Malaysia

In a hospital case report, doctors at the University of Malaya Medical Centre treated a young man for a pneumothorax – despite him being a smoker, they point the finger of suspicion at vaping

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In a hospital case report, doctors at the University of Malaya Medical Centre treated a young man for a pneumothorax – despite him being a smoker, they point the finger of suspicion at vaping. Malaysia recently imposed a 200% tax increase on e-liquids and moves are afoot to introduce a rolling ban to prevent anyone born after 2005 ever being able to purchase tobacco or vape products.

What is a pneumothorax?

A pneumothorax is commonly referred to as a collapsed lung. This situation can arise when air seeps into the space between the chest wall and the lungs. The air then acts to create a partial or complete collapse of the lung.

Is a pneumothorax common among smokers?

The condition is reported as being common in young male asthmatics and smokers. Many studies have demonstrated a link between smoking and pneumothorax. Some studies point to smoking leading to an increase in the likelihood of contracting a first pneumothorax by approximately 9 times in women and 22 times in men.

Have there been any reliable studies showing that vaping causes a collapsed lung?

No. None.

Doctors Wai Hou Khuan and Chee Kuan Wong write: “E-cigarette or vaping related product use has become popular among Malaysians in recent years, particularly in the younger generation. Smoking is a well-established risk factor in causing pneumothorax. There is an increasing trend of using e-cigarette as compared to tobacco smoking. However, risk of vaping in primary spontaneous pneumothorax is yet to be studied, especially among the dual users of tobacco and e-cigarette.”

The previously healthy 24yr-old male presented at hospital complaining of chest pains in his right-hand side, shortness of breath and increased problems when lying flat.

He smoked for 5 packs per day for the last 6 years and started to vape 1 year prior to admission with the reason to stop smoking.”

The pair state: “The importance of inquiring the history of vaping from patients must be highlighted among medical practitioners in Malaysia to avoid missing history of vaping during clerking as in this case. Thus, earlier intervention by advice on cessation of vaping … could be delivered to prevent recurrence of spontaneous pneumothorax.”

The man smoked 100 cigarettes per day, there are numerous pieces of evidence linking smoking with suffering a collapsed lung, and yet Wai Hou Khuan and Chee Kuan Wong think advising people to quit vaping is the correct way forward?

Heaven help Malaysian smokers.


Vaping - A Precipitating Factor of Pneumothorax in A Smoker? –

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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