Popcorn lung is a medical condition that affects tiny air sacs in the lungs. This disease makes breathing difficult and can even lead to death in some cases. The condition got its name almost a decade ago when a number of microwave popcorn factory workers got sick from inhaling diacetyl. This chemical compound was used to flavour popcorn and other products. In medical terms, it is referred to as bronchiolitis obliterans. It is a serious lung condition that is difficult to treat.
While popcorn manufacturers have eliminated the use of diacetyl in making their products, there are claims that people are still breathing in diacetyl when using vape juices. In reality, popcorn lung can be caused by many environmental and medical causes, including inflammation, infection, and breathing chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine, and some metal fumes.
Although the factors above are the major causes of popcorn lung, many people against e-cigarettes have listed vaping as a major cause of popcorn lung. Is popcorn lung fatal? What are the chances of getting popcorn lung from vaping? In this post, we have all your questions answered.
How do you know if you have popcorn lung?
Determining whether you have popcorn lung or not is difficult because many of the symptoms experienced are not exclusive to popcorn lung. Some people suffering from popcorn lung experience symptoms similar to the common cold. Popcorn lung targets the lung air sacs, which leads to scarring, making breathing harder, resulting in a dry cough, wheezing even when you are not asthmatic, or not having cold and fatigue. Thus, it is hard at times to figure out how to know if you have popcorn lung as it is complicated without a thorough medical examination.
Can popcorn lung be fatal?
Many of these symptoms are also experienced due to other lung conditions but you are advised to seek medical attention if they persist. When left untreated, popcorn lung gets worse and can make breathing and absorbing oxygen difficult. It can even be fatal in a few months when untreated. Currently, there is no popcorn lung cure, but treatment can slow it down and alleviate some of the symptoms.
How is diacetyl associated with vaping?
Diacetyl was the first substance that was known to cause popcorn lung. This flavouring substance has been found in some vape juices, but it is not very common. Various vape manufacturers understand the dangers of inhaling diacetyl, a reason why they produce vape products that are free from diacetyl.
Some of the vape juices that may contain diacetyl are fruit, custard, and tobacco flavoured juices though it is almost impossible. Many vape companies readjusted their formula for manufacturing vape products when concerns were raised in 2014 about the presence of diacetyl in vape juices.
What are the chances of getting popcorn lung from vaping?
Most vaping companies altered their formula to eliminate the dangerous diacetyl and although some companies continue selling vape products with diacetyl, no popcorn lung case has yet been reported from using vape products. Cigarette smoke has been found to contain over 100 times as much diacetyl as vaping products, but nowhere has smoking been listed as a significant cause of popcorn lung.
The bottom line is if you are scared of contacting popcorn lung from vaping, you should not be. This is because the levels of diacetyl found in some e-liquid flavours can do you no harm even if inhaled. Therefore, relax and continue enjoying your vaping with no worries.