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Experts Debunk Recent Study Linking Ecigs to Incurable Lung Disease

If you tuned into the news recently, you likely heard at least one report about how e-cigarettes are linked to “popcorn lung”, a debilitating and incurable disease that often leads to lung transplants. Over the past week, this story has appeared on all the big media outlets including FOX, CBS, and USA Today. Unfortunately, these reports are all based on a single study released last week and a closer look at the data reveals that the conclusions are all wrong. Popcorn lung isn’t posing a threat to vapers after all and some of the ecig industry’s leading experts are explaining why.

The popcorn lung story originated with a Harvard study that found Diacetyl in 39 out of 51 eliquid samples. Diacetyl is a chemical that has a known link to potential lung disease, but that doesn’t mean it is lethal at every concentration. Most American families actually consume this chemical on a regular basis. It’s hiding in popcorn seasoning, margarine, and even beer. Of course, the media didn’t reveal this in their recent mud-slinging attack on ecigarettes.

Dr. Michael Siegel, Professor of Health Sciences at Boston University, criticized the recent study for presenting exaggerated conclusions and omitting crucial information. Siegel said that regular cigarettes contain Diacetyl at much higher concentrations than what was found in the eliquid. “Daily exposure to Diacetyl from smoking is therefore 750 times higher, on average than exposure to Diacetyl from vaping,” Siegel said. “Vapers are, on average, exposed to a daily dose of nine micrograms of Diacetyl, compared with 6,718 micrograms for smokers. The worst e-cigarette tested produces Diacetyl exposure that is 85 times lower than that of the worst cigarette tested.”

Of course, Siegel is not the only expert debunking the recent ecig report. According to Critical Reviews in Toxicology, “Smoking has not been shown to be a risk factor for bronchiolitis (popcorn lung).” Therefore, it seems only logical that if ecigs contain 750 times less Diacetyl than cigarettes, they shouldn’t pose a risk for popcorn lung either.

Siegel blamed the recent hype on anti-ecig lobbyists who will go to any extreme to damage the ecig industry. “There’s a lot of effort out there to demonize electronic cigarettes and a lot of research attempting to identify the risk, which is fine, we need to know what the risks are, but the reporting of the research I think has been very biased… What this really does is undermine the public’s appreciation of how severe the risks of smoking is. What it’s basically telling ex-smokers who’ve quit, using e-cigarettes, is you might as well go back to smoking.”

Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, also expressed frustration at the recent ecig reports. “Surveys show that more smokers are beginning to believe that vaping is as hazardous as smoking. The false impression is being created and reinforced with each sensationalist report on the newest ‘bombshell’ study about vaping. Reckless communication of the risks of vapor products not only causes fewer smokers to quit but also leads some vapers to return to smoking. It is horrifying to see this happen.”

If you heard the recent reports and have been worried that your ecigs could be putting you at risk, it’s time to take a deep breath and move on. The data clearly shows that the miniscule amount of Diacetyl in only a handful of eliquid flavors is not nearly enough to cause irreversible lung damage. With that said, it’s probably still a smart idea to opt for eliquids without Diacetyl and there are plenty out there. Many top selling ecig brands have opted to eliminate this ingredient completely to better protect the ex-smokers that rely on their products.

Have you checked to see if your eliquid contains Diacetyl?

Electronic Cigarettes • April 5, 2017

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