Why Popcorn Lung is NOT a Threat for the Vaping Community


As the popularity of vaping as an alternative to smoking cigarettes has become more widespread, the government’s restrictions and comments on this topic have consequently grown. There has been a number of proposed bills which seek to ban the use of flavouring and ecigarettes, and to place heavy restrictions on the use and distribution of these products. One of the points that the government has strongly focused on is popcorn lungs and diacetyl. This chemical has been used in some e-liquid flavours in the past, and the information provided on this topic has been severely limited, and biased.


Popcorn lung is scientifically known as Bronchiolitis obliterans, and is a disease in the lungs that impairs the effectivity and function of the bronchioles (small pathways in the lungs). There are several causes for this disease and there has been under 100 cases diagnosed, and 0 cases have been recorded for Vapers. The only way to diagnose popcorn lung is a surgical lung biopsy. The first cases of popcorn lung that occurred within the general population were found in individuals who worked within a microwave popcorn factory in Missouri between 1992 and 2000.  The most common cause for this disease is from a chemical called by inhaling diacetyl also known as butanedione or 2-3, butanedione, but it can also be caused by other chemicals used to creating artificial flavouring, with creamy or buttery flavours.  


It is a commonly known fact that certain flavours have diacetyl in them, but this has changed since the Harvard Study on popcorn lung was published. This study took a convenience sample of 51 e-liquid flavours and tested the chemical contents of them. They found that of their sample 47 or the 51 flavours had a flavouring chemical in them, and 39 of the 51 flavours had diacetyl. This study obviously caused concern in many Vapers, and the entirety of the vaping community. The study was correct in its findings, but a HUGE aspect of the diacetyl content that was ignored was the content of diacetyl in other every products we consume. For individuals who used vaping to quit smoking, they may not know, of the 4000 chemicals in cigarettes, one of the ingredients of cigarettes is diacetyl, in fact there is 100 times MORE diacetyl in cigarettes than e-liquid. Since this study was published, the majority of reputable brands who produce their liquids in ISO7 certified labs, have stopped using diacetyl and other dangerous chemical flavouring.


Essentially, no. If you are a Vaper and you are concerned about diacetyl in your juices, there are a couple simple steps to avoid diacetyl at all costs.

  1. Check the ingredients, most e-liquid companies that don’t contain diacetyl will display that there is NO diacetyl content on their labels
  2. Do research on brands, and find a brand that is reputable and manufactured in an ISO7 certified lab. Some stores carry juice that is manufactured in the back of their store, which makes it difficult to know what is really in your eliquid