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Six dead after using e-cigarette in US: should the Dutch be concerned?

Hundreds of people in the US suffer from an unknown lung disease that is likely related to e-cigarette use. At least six people have died. The reports also cause unrest in the Netherlands. Is that right?


At least 450 patients diagnosed as having the unknown disease since April 2019 suffered from shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough and weight loss. These are often young, previously healthy people from 33 different states, who have one thing in common: they used an e-cigarette shortly before they were admitted.

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There is great unrest among e-cigarette users, notes chairman Emil ‘t Hart of the Esigbond (the Electronic Cigarettes Association Netherlands). enough information. “I’ve had a lot of calls over the past few days from people who sell e-cigarettes. They represent hundreds of stores and want to answer questions from their members and customers.”

Have people in the Netherlands also become ill from vaping?

Not as far as we know, says Esther Croes of the Trimbos Institute. And also in Europe there are no known people with this unknown lung disease. The Dutch Association of Physicians for Pulmonary Diseases and Tuberculosis this week distributed a survey among pulmonologists to inventory whether they have patients with similar complaints, the results of which are not yet in.

Is the situation regarding e-cigarettes in the Netherlands the same as in the US?

No, says the Heart of the Esigbond. “The rules are very different here. Europe has very strict standards when it comes to production. For example, the e-cigarettes they use there are allowed a lot more nicotine. And there they can buy larger bottles of the liquid, here you can Buy a maximum of 10 milliliters with a maximum of 20 mg of nicotine in it. We as a union have also criticized the rules, but I have to admit that the government has ensured that those weird products have been removed from the Dutch market.”

Croes van Trimbos also sees major differences. “We set fairly strict requirements for e-cigarettes in the Netherlands.” However, it may not be the legally purchased liquids that are the problem, but liquids that have been bought on the street and of which it is therefore not clear what exactly is in them and how they are produced. “At least those are the first messages.”

Are non-approved or homemade liquids also sold in the Netherlands?

‘t Hart says it has not heard any reports about this. But Croes is convinced that it will happen. “You can find recipes on the internet about how to make the liquid with THC oil, for example. We don’t know how big the trade is, nor whether the substances used come from the same sources as in the US. But I’m here sure it will happen.”

Croes therefore urges everyone to not use illegal products. ‘t Hart also advises to buy the products in a store. “We and the NVWA put them on their necks to comply with the rules.”


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Should e-cigarette users in the Netherlands be concerned?

There is not yet a good answer to that question, says Croes of the Trimbos Institute. This is because it is not yet known what causes the cases in the US.

“There are only suspicions about why people have become ill, but these have not yet been confirmed. For example, we know that some of the people who have become ill or who have died had THC oil in the liquid. That substance is officially banned in the Netherlands, but there are also patients who have not used THC oil as far as is known.” “It is now suspected that that oil or another chemical gives a chemical reaction, which damages the alveoli and makes it difficult to breathe.”

‘t Hart van de Esigbond does not believe that the Dutch have cause for concern. “There are millions of users of the e-cigarette in Europe. E liquids brands of ecigmarketxl.comhas enough information. It has been used since 2012. If the cause of the disease in the US were also used in Europe, people would already have become ill.”


Croes wants to emphasize that in most situations it is unwise to use an e-cigarette. “Non-smokers should certainly not start. And smokers only if they have tried other methods to quit, such as nicotine patches, and they have not succeeded. Then we also only recommend the e-cigarette as a smoking cessation aid. , and then phase out its use.”