E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

Tabloid Claims E-Cigarettes Left User with Hole in His Lung

Last week, British tabloid The Sun posted the bizarre story of Richard Courtney, an e-cigarette user who was allegedly left with a hole in his lung after his mod failed to turn the e-liquid into vapor. Needless to say, his case caused quite the controversy within the vaping community.

richard-courtney33-year-old Richard Courtney was vaping as he walked home from a friend’s house when he tasted an unusual fluid in his mouth and started coughing. “It felt like I’d got a trapped nerve in my shoulder,” he told The Sun. When he woke up the next morning, his chest was tight and he was struggling to breathe, so he went to the hospital, in Surrey, England.

“One of the nurses there put my vape on an oxygen tube and showed that it was spitting liquid out,” he said, adding that doctors told him one of his lungs was working at just 25% capacity. Even so, the man was kept in overnight at the Acute Medical Unit of East Surrey Hospital, Redhill, and discharged with an inhaler. Five days later, he was back in the hospital, after experiencing a tight chest. He was released again the next day and he has since gone back to work.

“I want to give up completely but at the moment I’m just having the odd roll-up. I’m such an addict I can’t just go cold turkey even after what happened,” Courtney told reporters. He had been smoking for 16 years before spending £100 on the KangerTech mod that he says put him in the hospital. He is now back on roll-your-own cigarettes…

The first strange thing I noticed about this story is that apart from the scary title, there is no mention of a hole in his lung. Nor are there any kind of real medical details given about his condition. So it comes as no surprise that the story has been labeled as fake by the majority of vapers and even reputed scientists like Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, who has done extensive research on electronic cigarettes.

A case of spontaneous pneumothorax, for which SMOKING (current or past) is a risk factor, is presented as “burning hole in the lung” (a term which sounds like a joke) caused by e-cigarettes. It is never too late to stop the misinformation. I feel sorry for the patient, not only about his episode of pneumothorax but mostly because he is probably convinced to quit e-cigarette use and relapse to smoking,” he wrote on Facebook.

Even Snopes.com, the internet’s go-to source for checking viral rumors, notes the lack of evidence behind this story and labels it as “unproven”.

A pneumothorax does indeed seem to be the culprit here, considering Courtney’s sensation of a trapped nerve in his shoulder. However, even that is not the correct diagnosis, a hole in the lung caused by inhaled hot nicotine e-liquid sounds a lot less likely. The idea of hot fluid capable of burning a hole through his lung while not affecting his mouth and throat is just too much to believe. And even the mod had heated the liquid to a point where it could theoretically burn through lung tissue, the distance from the mouth to the lung would certainly cool it down.

And if he really had a hole in his lung, would the hospital really release him after just one day? I’m pretty sure that kind of damage would require surgery. There are just so many holes in this story (pun intended) that it’s hard not to laugh at the efforts of the media to put e-cigs in a bad light.

If only it didn’t work. But it is. This ludicrous story has been picked up by just about every tabloid in Britain – and there are a lot of them – as well as international news websites, which just continue to spread the nonsense withoyt bothering to check the facts. The problem is most people don’t check facts either, they just see the scary headline and assume it’s true. A major news source wouldn’t stoop to misinformation, now would it?

Photo: Richard Courtney

3 Comments/Reviews

  • sam says:

    Had the same spontaneous pneumothorax on Tuesday had the air asprated out my chest with a needle and went home that night. I could go into detail but just Google it.

  • Andrea Nicassio says:
    1 stars

    Same episode in my case. You are not a medic, as I can read from the post.I had also a pneumothorax, and I went home after one day. There is also another consideration. I vape form 5 year, and the spontaneus pneumothorax happened while I was vaping. I can’t say for shure that it would be related, but I’m believing that it could be possible. There is a lot of mistake in your post, and this bring me thinking the news could be true. The case sounds very similar to mine.

  • Devin Joyce says:

    I also had a spontaneous pneumothorax and was in hospital for two days with a chest tube in my lung draining the air. I was released yesterday and almost immediately went back to vaping. I have been vaping for over three years with a rather powerful setup. I do not believe that vaping was the cause or else a lot more young adults would be in the hospital with pneumothoraxes.

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