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Fact Check.Org Debunks Vaping Popcorn Lung Myth

By Matt McConnell

Monday June 5, 2017
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First the New York Times started defending vaping and now the neutral, legitimate fact check website Fact Check.Org is debunking vaping myths. It is a positive sign that journalists and honest arbiters of truth are beginning to be informed by facts and not headlines. For many years, negative electronic cigarette stories went unchallenged by mainstream media. That finally seems to be changing.

I have been in this industry for many years now. I have noticed how the anti-vaping special interests work. Every few months a cherry picked study, often with very questionable methodology or unfounded interpretation of data, will emerge and make national headlines. The anti-vaping messaging will last for a few months and then they will choose a new angle of attack. About a year or so ago, the anti-vaping interests seized upon a claim that vaping may lead to a condition known as popcorn lung.

Popcorn Lung Vaping

Popcorn lung is a serious condition without a lot of great treatment options. The real name of the disease is bronchiolitis obliterans. It got the name popcorn lung based on how the disease first came to prominence. The cause can be traced to a chemical called diacetyl. Diacetyl is a butter substitute that has been approved as a food additive. The issue is that diacetyl when inhaled may be dangerous. In particular, microwave popcorn that uses diacetyl in butter flavoring is how popcorn lung got its name.

It started with a man who ate microwave popcorn every day. The smell of the butter as he warmed his popcorn was tantalizing but also dangerous. The smell of diacetyl does smell like warmed butter but it has been traced to a cause of popcorn lung. The man developed popcorn lung, sued and won. Additionally, workers at factories that produce microwave popcorn were also considered in danger and OSHA recommended that workers wear masks.

Basically, I have made a long story very short. Just wanted to give some background. Anyway, because inhaling diacetyl with microwave popcorn has been known to cause popcorn lung, that caused many to assume that there was also a popcorn lung vaping issue.

Diacetyl In E-Liquids

The reason that critics associated popcorn lung and vaping is because of a number of tests that showed that there is diacetyl in a large number of e-liquids. This part of the story is true. Many e-liquids are not made to professional standards and are often blended by people that don;t know what they are doing. The problem of diacetyl in e-liquids is a real one.  That’s why we at ECCR spend so much time vetting e-lqiuids. The best manufacturers never use diacetyl or substitutes in their e-juice recipes.

Another issue we run into when vetting an e-liquid company is many claim they do not use diacetyl but they actually do. Many are not intentionally lying they just don’t know. This is the issue with the amateur DIY vape juice maker. Just because diacetyl is not listed as an ingredient on a flavor does not mean that its not in there. It takes professional chemists and independent lab testing to truly establish that an ejuice is diacetyl free.

Anyway, let’s get back to the Fact Check.Org story.

Fact Check.Org Debunks Popcorn Lung Vaping Claim

Fact Check.Org debunked the popcorn lung vaping myth after an in depth analysis. Fact Check states that there is not enough evidence to support the claim that vaping can lead to popcorn lung. And Fact Check didn’t even dig into which e-liquids contain diacetyl and which do not. They went deep on the science but clearly do not have much of a clue about vaping or e-cigarettes. They didn’t even compare diacetyl content in tobacco. Be that as it may, even without nuance and detail the conclusion is clear. There is no evidence that vaping leads to popcorn lung aka bronchiolitis obliterans.

While this is good news to find out that e-cigarette myths are finally being questioned by reasonable people, we still advise vapers to avoid e-liquids that have diacetyl. Why expose ourselves when we don’t have to? Many of the best vape juice makers never use diacetyl or substitutes. It is easy to avoid. I know, first we say there is no link between vape juice with diacetyl and popcorn lung and then we say avoid diacetyl. It seems contradictory. But the truth is that it is simply an unnecessary risk. Get e-liquids from professionals who know what they are doing and just avoid the whole issue altogether. That’s the reason.

Next, let’s hope fact check decides to dig into and expose some other vaping myths. There are a lot of them out there.

ECCR

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