Vaping Associated Pulmonary Nontuberculous Mycobacteria

Lung. 2021 Feb;199(1):21-27. doi: 10.1007/s00408-020-00414-6. Epub 2021 Jan 9.


Introduction: E-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI) has been an important health risk in both children and adults. The pathophysiology of EVALI is not well understood. However, it is speculated that certain substances such as Vitamin E Acetate (VEA), particularly in marijuana containing vape cartridges may result in lung injury and lead to respiratory dysfunction. EVALI is often seen in the absence of infections, but it has been found to be associated with both fungal and bacterial infections. Like EVALI, nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) pulmonary disease is also on the rise, but is primarily reported in immunocompromised individuals. Here, we present three immunocompetent individuals wherein pulmonary NTM infection co-occurred with vaping.

Methods: Medical information including patient history, laboratory, and radiograph reports were abstracted from electronic medical records from participating institutions located in the Bronx, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and Lexington, KY.

Results: All three cases were otherwise immunocompetent individuals with a significant history of vaping either nicotine and/or marijuana containing products. The pathogens isolated include Mycobacterium avium complex, M. xenopi, and M. gordonae. All three patients were treated for NTM.

Conclusion: There is little reported on the association between vaping and NTM. It is possible that vaping may have rendered these individuals to be more susceptible to NTM colonization and infection. The possible mechanisms of vaping lung injury and pulmonary NTM are discussed.

Keywords: E-cigarette; NTM; Pediatrics; Pulmonology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / complications
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunocompetence
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases / drug therapy
  • Lung Diseases / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / chemically induced*
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / diagnosis
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / drug therapy
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vaping / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Antitubercular Agents