The cause is thought to be fumes from the metal coils that heat the vaping liquid.
Doctors warn that this is a newly discovered health risk for vapers.
Researchers say the condition, called hard-metal pneumoconiosis, creates a distinctive pattern of lung scarring leading to breathing difficulties and chronic coughing.
Though the scarring is irreversible, some patients may see mild improvement if the exposure stops and they take steroids. The disease is usually diagnosed in people working with cobalt or tungsten in jobs such as tool sharpening, diamond polishing or making dental prosthetics.