Vaping, Diacetyl, & Popcorn Lung: What You Need to Know
Popcorn lung, diacetyl, and e-cigarettes have sure been in the news, and people are in a major uproar over the usage of vapor devices. Unfortunately, my friends, this case is a sad example of media sensationalism and jumping on a trend just to create a hysterical moment. And before you go any further, let’s just one thing clear:
VaporFi liquids DO NOT contain any diacetyl as an ingredient.
What is Popcorn Lung?
The scientific name for Popcorn Lung is bronchiolitis obliterans. It is called Popcorn Lung because it was once commonly found in people who work in popcorn factories. This is because the main ingredient in the artificial butter flavoring is diacetyl. Similarly, diacetyl is used in e-liquids, especially baked good flavors, to create a creamy, buttery taste.
When a person repeatedly inhales diacetyl it slowly causes granulation of the lung tissues, which essentially scars the lungs. As the lungs become scarred, they are less able to expand when you take a breath. This causes severely restricted lung capacity and shortness of breath. Once the damage is done, it is irreversible. Side effects also include coughing and wheezing.
The unfortunate problem with popcorn lung is that it is frequently misdiagnosed. Since the symptoms are similar to asthma, doctors often treat it similarly with no positive results. In some cases it can take years to reach the correct diagnosis, and by that point the damage can be so great it will limit the sufferer’s breathing capacity for the remainder of their life.
What to Know About Diacetyl in E-Liquids
The good news is that most e-liquid manufacturers did away with diacetyl at the first sign of trouble. There are numerous other ways to create that same buttery flavor without the help of this single chemical. As a vaper, you need to be aware of the ingredients in your e-liquids and watch out for any signs of diacetyl. You should never settle for an e-liquid that still contains this ingredient, and definitely avoid anyone who tells you that “everybody is doing it.” By and large, the vapor industry has been very reactive to the risks vapor products pose, and they have taken steps to eliminate harmful ingredients right away.
It all started when a report based on the findings of a Harvard University School of Public Health study was published. The study claimed that diacetyl is linked to bronchiolitis obliterans, more commonly known as popcorn lung, which is a devastating lung disease best avoided. The problem with the study however, was their misstep in reporting and testing of e-liquids. Due to the vast number of brands and varieties in the market, and the study pointedly only testing 51 different flavor varieties, there is an exceptionally large margin of error they capitalized on. Their sample for testing was obviously aiming in one specific, inconclusive direction.
VaporFi alone carries 50+ individual flavors, with the possibility of 30,000+ blends, and not one of them contains diacetyl!
What was not mentioned in many of the reports, however, was that this is all very much old news. Reputable brands of e-liquids, and anyone in this industry who has done adequate research already knows the dangers of diacetyl and what it is capable of doing when inhaled into the lungs. What this study failed to report upon, as it should have in a scientifically accurate context, is that a large number of top-quality e-liquids contain no diacetyl, proudly displaying this across all of their packaging and marketing materials.
Thanks to the Harvard University research study, the vapor industry as a whole has been very responsive. People within the vaping community are working to make everyone aware of the dangers that diacetyl poses. However, it has also highlighted an important element about the vaping community as well: They are self-regulating. It didn’t take a government mandate or ban to convince vapor companies to go diacetyl-free. Instead, most companies made the move as soon as they saw the negative health effects and realized that their customers wanted a safer option. This has largely united the community around a core principal of safety and risk reduction.
Diacetyl-Free e-liquids are a thing, and most serious vapers want them exclusively; hence why we’ve boasted about being diacetyl-free since our beginnings.
Moral of the story: don’t believe everything you hear, know your products, and be informed about everything. Diacetyl-free is the way to go, and it’s plenty available.
Gianna Del Monte is the Brand Manager at VaporFi. She has been in the vaping industry since June 2015 and has extensive experience in successfully managing and marketing a variety of new vapor product launches. Originally from New Jersey, Gianna has lived in the Miami area for the last 5 years.