Popcorn Lung?

We wanted to re-post our blog about Popcorn Lung, as we have been getting a lot of inquiries and hearing misleading information from customers and people on the street. Take a read down memory lane and find out all about Popcorn Lung from a post we originally shared in November 2017.

So, a few days ago I wrote a blog called, It’s What The Doctor Ordered, about a top doctor over in Australia calling for a total ban on cigarettes. As always, the blogs on Mt Baker Vapor are disseminated throughout all our social media platforms and almost always generate some interesting feedback.

Out of all the responses to the blog, one comment in particular, on our Facebook page, written by Cedric Davinci really caught my eye.

Cedric wrote:

“My doc told me vaping caused popcorn lung. I have done a lot of research on it and felt that the info out there led my conclusion that this was a non-issue caused by improper research. Regardless, vaping has been a great lifestyle change from cigarettes. I guess the only bit that still concerns me at all is how we burn off the coils prior to adding cotton. There was a long Reddit article involving a chemist stating how heating the element up causes certain chemical changes on the metal. Anyone here know more about that?”

Robert Grande responded to Cedric’s comment/question by saying;

“Popcorn lung is a non-issue. A lot of juice companies test for the presence of diacetyl. I believe it’s spelled correctly. It’s the chemical that produces the flavoring. There hasn’t been one confirmed case of popcorn lung from vaping in 10 years.”

After reading Cedric’s comment and Robert’s response, I grew curious about what “Popcorn Lung” is. Perhaps I am a “greeny” but it was the first time I had ever heard about such a thing, thus I did a little research.

The disease known as Popcorn Lung, (or bronchiolitis obliterans), is associated with chronic rejection of lung and bone marrow transplants, viral infection, connective tissue diseases, and exposure to toxic chemicals including chlorine, ammonia, mustard gas and ozone.

In 2015, a particularly alarming challenge was made to the safety of e-cigarettes by a team of researchers at Harvard. While examining the contents of refill liquids, sometimes called e-juice or e-liquid, they found that 75 percent of the flavored refills they tested contained a chemical called diacetyl, an artificial flavor with a buttery taste. In 2000, this chemical made the news as the probable cause of a rare lung disease diagnosed in eight microwave popcorn factory workers. Cited from Fox News

The Harvard press release drawing attention to diacetyl in e-juice caused alarm among vapers and quickly became ammunition for vaping opponents who now had a life threatening, rare lung disease on their side. But the Harvard press release left out key information. Most significantly, diacetyl exposure from cigarette smoking is significantly higher than exposure from vaping, perhaps as much as 750 times higher. This doesn’t make vaping safe, but it supports the argument that vaping is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. The Harvard press release also failed to mention that there’s no established link between popcorn lung and vaping.  Cited from Fox News.

So, can you get popcorn lung from vaping? There’s not enough scientific evidence to answer with absolute certainty. What we do know is that cigarette smoking, with its significantly higher risk of diacetyl exposure, hasn’t yet been positively associated with popcorn lung. In fact, the only known case of popcorn lung from diacetyl exposure outside of microwave popcorn factories affected a Colorado man who ate two bags a day of diacetyl-containing microwave popcorn over a period of ten years. Cited from Fox News.

Thank you to Cedric and Robert for spurring good debate!


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Photography Major from Western Washington University .
I joined MBV back in December 2014 and am happy to be working in an industry focused on helping others.

27 thoughts on “Popcorn Lung?

    1. Thank you for clearing that issue up. I hear some doctors are still telling their patients that if they vape, they could get popcorn lung. They should read this article before they start running their mouths!

    1. Just a little. Sure there is more information out there, but I feel confident that this is a good start. Thank you for reading~

  1. Thank you for shedding light on this. I had heard about it a few years ago and it scared me enough that I quit vaping. I’m glad I came back to it this year. I have been able to stop buying cigarettes entirely for nearly a month.

    1. I’m relatively new to vaping and found this “supposed issue” fascinating. Thanks to the two gentlemen on Facebook that mentioned this (Popcorn Lung). Oh yeah, and thank you for reading!

    1. Great question! Under California’s Proposition 65 (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act) that was originally enacted in 1986 there are a list of chemicals that, if in a substance, forces the substance to carry the aforementioned cancer warning. The full list of chemicals this warning is required for can be found here: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/proposition-65-list

      Cancer isn’t the only reason this warning has to be present. The warning on our bottles state “This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm”.

      If you search through this list, you will find Nicotine as one of the chemicals added to this list (It was added on April 1, 1990). Nicotine was added to this list under the classification of developmental toxicity, not because it causes cancer.

      By law, we must have this warning on all of our E Juice regardless of whether nicotine is present or not. Our blog posts cite scientific sources and are meant to provide the most up-to-date research and knowledge regarding vaping, e juice and e cigs.

      1. “Our blog posts cite scientific sources and are meant to provide the most up-to-date research and knowledge regarding vaping, e juice and e cigs”.

        I just happened to stumble upon your article and, although I am an avid e-cigarette user and longtime questioner of popcorn lung, using Fox News as your only source for “scientific sources” is downright laughable. From one Copywriter to the next… Ummm, check yo-self!

  2. Very interesting read, I’m actually an Aussie and was quite annoyed about this popcorn lung thing,and all my research particularly the European research which appears to have been going on a lot longer, suggests vaping is like a million times better than tailor made cigarettes, so thank you for clearing that up for me 😜

  3. Here’s the problem with a lot of people who oppose vaping:

    They regurgitate incorrect / unverified information they’ve heard / read from someone they believe to be knowledgeable about a certain topic / area of expertise without first doing their own research to see if what they’re saying is actually true. This inaction, thereby continues the spread of the irronious hysteria that damages the progress vaping provides to individuals who would otherwise resort to using conventional cigarettes rather than vaping.

    I will be the first to say we may not know if vaping is “perfectly safe,” because we are still inhaling foreign substances into our bodies. However, it should be shouted from the roof tops that vaping is a hell of a lot safer than conventional cigarettes!

    Thanks for the helpful information as well as researching what you write about!

    Have a great day and VAPE ON!

  4. Diacetyl was used in some vape flavorings, most of them imported. The buttery flavorings or pastry type flavors were the ones affected. Popcorn lung, from what I researched, was caused by employees constantly inhaling the Diacetyl at the actual factories where this chemical was used. Simple solution if you’re concerned, avoid flavors that may contain diacetyl. To say vaping in general causes popcorn lung is just another scare tactic of the misinformed.

  5. From what research I have done “Popcorn Lung” doesn’t really exist. Here’s what I mean…
    In ONE factory EIGHT workers got sick. All kinds of tests were done, samples taken and no specific problems were found. The label, Popcorn Lung, was given to this situation because they worked in a factory that made a butter flavoring for microwave popcorn. NO other cases have been reported since (except the guy who ate 2 bags of microwave popcorn a day for ten years, but that is still not proven). It was a scare tactic when “vaping” was relatively young to push restrictive laws onto vendors to try and shut the industry down. Many vape shop owners proactively had there juices tested on their own, just to prove a point. Some juice makers even shut down until they could find flavors to use that did NOT have diacetyl in them BEFORE they were told to by the government.
    Long story short, vaping is about tobacco harm REDUCTION. It’s not about being completely safe, it’s about being safer than cigarettes. The whole popcorn lung debacle was just another scare tactic by Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, or Legislators, or all three. Bottom line, vaping is safer than cigarettes.

  6. This article is more than just a bit stunning for a couple of reasons.
    First of all, I’m surprised that anyone who writes about vaping has not yet heard about the debunked “popcorn lung” scare. It’s old news.

    Second, and most importantly, using Fox News as a source for anything other than as an example of how propaganda works is a terrible mistake. This is not an opinion, it is an established fact. Don’t ruin a decent article by citing illegitimate sources.

  7. Interesting article, but from the comments section nothing is ‘debunked’. Yes, there is not enough evidence linked to diketones in juice causing ‘popcorn lungs’, but it is a reason enough for me to avoid them as best as I can. I make my own juice and as I transition my recipe’s there’s also been discussions of red flags concerning mixing diketones and butyric acid ingredients (ie DX, custards, butters). Yes, it’s better than smoking cigarettes, but I’m still concerned what I vape for the long-term, bc I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon- I’m trying to make the safest juices possible.

  8. Popcornlung has been the best disinformation campaign ever.
    There is only ONE toxicological study and the conclusion is clear.
    “Further, because smoking has not been shown to be a risk factor for bronchiolitis obliterans, our findings are inconsistent with claims that diacetyl and/or 2,3-pentanedione exposure are risk factors for this disease.”


  9. Do your juices contain diacetyl, I ordered fruity hoops and berry crunch and the fruity hoops people said it had a creamy flavor, I just wanted to know if it contained diacetyl or any other popcorn lung related chemicals

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