Does Vaping Cause Popcorn Lung?
Does Vaping Cause Popcorn Lung?
There have been several news stories lately that have reported that vaping might be a cause of popcorn lung – so naturally, I decided to do some research to find out exactly what was going on.
As you probably know, popcorn lung is another name for a condition called bronchiolitis obliterans – which is a pretty serious and irreversible condition that causes scarring in the tiny air sacs within the lungs.
The condition has been associated with a few different dangerous chemical flavorings (one of which is diacetyl), and has also been linked to formaldehyde. The main problem cited in these reports is that E-cigs are said to contain or produce both of these chemicals – as well as many more that are said to be dangerous in the same way.
You can find out more about the condition itself by visiting the MedicineNet.com article on the subject – but for now, let’s talk about whether or not E-cigs really do cause popcorn lung.
One of the biggest sources for concern is the E-liquid that’s used in the electronic cigarettes. According to a study that was published in 2015 in a journal called ‘Environmental Health Perspectives’, several harmful chemicals associated with the condition were found in many different types of E-liquid.
The flavors that seemed the most likely to contain these ingredients were in the fruit and candy-flavored categories.
It was said that 51 different flavors were tested, and that diacetyl itself was found in 39 of them. There were also some other chemicals detected that raised alarm.
The conclusion of the study had this to say about the results.
“Due to the associations between diacetyl, bronchiolitis obliterans and other severe respiratory diseases observed in workers, urgent action is recommended to further evaluate this potentially widespread exposure via flavored e-cigarettes.” Source – http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10185/
Another article, published on washingtonpost.com, had a lot of really good information available on this subject. In general, there aren’t many standards that are keeping companies from using potentially dangerous flavorings in their E-liquids, which is causing some alarm among those who fear that vaping might not be as safe as it sounds.
But on the other hand, the article also had this to say in regard to how potent (or, rather, less potent) E-cigs are when compared to tobacco cigarettes.
“Even if e-cigarette users are exposed to diacetyl… the risk of harm is only a fraction of that from smoking tobacco, which causes 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, according to federal data.”
Attention! The American Vaping Association has also made statements regarding the issue of ‘popcorn lung’ and E-cig risks – namely, that there are no grounds to say that vaping produces anything close to dangerous levels of formaldehyde – another chemical that’s said to be linked to the condition.
They claim that the study most commonly used to make claims about dangerous levels of the chemical in E-cig vapor was conducted using unrealistic testing conditions that no human vaper would ever create in a real-life scenario.
Here’s an excerpt from the article, which was published on Vaping.info.
“By setting their machine to repeatedly take three-to-four second puffs at 5.0 volts, the researchers overheated the vaporizer. Vapers call this the ‘dry puff phenomenon,’ and don’t do it due to the very harsh and awful taste. By making a false assumption and by multiplying that false assumption over and over, the researchers got it all wrong. There is no scientific evidence that e-cigs increase risks for cancer or any other disease.”
So, what does this all mean?
Thankfully, we have some scientific data to show us what’s really going on – and while there do seem to be some ingredients in E-liquid that need a second look, the problem also appears to be much less severe than some sources are saying.
Of course, this is a very big issue – so I would advise you to do your own research and to come to your own conclusions on the matter. Your health and safety are very important – so make sure that you feel comfortable with something like vaping before moving forward with it.