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Popcorn Lung

Popcorn Lung

Will Vaping give me Popcorn Lung?

We answer your questions about popcorn lung

Becky Spencer-Davies, 25/02/2019 

You have probably heard of popcorn lung. Maybe when you started vaping people said “won’t you get popcorn lung?”. Or maybe you read about it in the headlines and have been worrying about it. There has been lots of noise about popcorn lung and whether vaping can cause it. In this blog we are going to tell you more about the condition and if there is any concern with vaping.

What is Popcorn Lung?

For those who don’t know, popcorn lung is the nickname of a condition called Bronchiolitis Obliterans.

It is where the small airways in your lungs are damaged, making you cough and short of breath. The reason it is called popcorn lung is because it can be caused by breathing in the chemical used to flavour microwavable popcorn, diacetyl. However it can also be caused by other chemicals too.

Factories used it in the past to flavour caramel, dairy and popcorn.  


What are the symptoms of popcorn lung?

- A dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Tired without reason 
- Wheezing without a cold or asthma

How does it relate to vaping?

Some flavours of e-juice have been known to contain diacetyl within their flavourings. The very chemical which has been known to cause popcorn lung. Of course, this raised alerts that vaping causes popcorn lung. However, lets just look at some facts here.
First of all, not all flavours and brands contain this buttery chemical.

Secondly, when diacetyl was detected in vapor it was measured at 9.0mg. When it was measured in tobacco it was 335.9mg. Smoking cigarettes is exposing yourself to a higher level of diacetyl.

The the risk of popcorn lung from vaping is minimal and there is no known connection between diacetyl in vape and this lung condition. However, if you are worried then you can avoid this chemical. You need to choose companies and brands that do not use diacetyl in their flavourings. There are lots of flavours that don’t contain it at all. The chemical has mostly shown up in the flavourings of cherry, custard and pastry flavours, but not all brands remember!

Cancer Research UK writes "There’s no good evidence that e-cigarettes could cause the lung condition called popcorn lung. There’s been no cases of popcorn lung reported in people who use e-cigarettes. If you’re a smoker, the best thing you can do for your health is to stop." - We second that!

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