What is Popcorn Lung?

Popcorn lung’ is a well-known nickname for the condition of bronchiolitis obliterans. It causes damage to the lungs’ airways, meaning you may feel short of breath or have a nasty cough. Many people think you get popcorn lung from vaping, but this is not entirely true. In this article, we explain what actually causes popcorn lung, and the effects this can have on your health. 

What Causes Popcorn Lung?

Does diacetyl cause popcorn lung?

There are a few different causes of popcorn lung, but the most profound cause is the one that gives this condition its unusual nickname. This is the chemical diacetyl. 

Although diacetyl is considered safe to eat (hence it is used as an artificial butter flavouring in food products), it is not safe to inhale the fumes.  

This chemical was once used as a flavouring ingredient in microwave popcorn. People began to realise that workers at the factories that made this popcorn were suffering from bronchiolitis obliterans far too common for it to be a coincidence. That’s when the dangers of this chemical were discovered and, of course, most popcorn manufacturers have stopped using it entirely. 

Do e-cigs cause popcorn lung?

The chemical that causes popcorn lung - diacetyl - was used in some e-liquid flavourings in the USA, and unfortunately, probably still is. 

The use of this chemical is banned in Europe, so rest assured that, when buying from a reliable UK manufacturer, you will not be exposed to diacetyl.

Other causes of popcorn lung

When thinking about what gives you popcorn lung, most people don’t realise that this condition is not exclusive to popcorn and vape-related products. Other chemicals that can cause popcorn lung include:

  • Ammonia
  • Formaldehyde 
  • Chlorine 
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Acetaldehyde 
  • Metal oxide fumes
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Hydrochloric acid

Fortunately, it’s very unlikely that you’ll ever be exposed to excessive quantities of these chemicals.  

Aside from harmful chemicals, popcorn lung can occur as a result of other illnesses. You may develop the condition after suffering from an illness that affects your lungs, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. 

Popcorn Lung Symptoms

The most common symptoms of popcorn lung disease are

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Flu or fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing  

All of the products at Vape Simple are - and always have been - free from diacetyl and any other harmful chemicals. Shop safe, reputable e-liquids here.