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.
“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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