Popcorn Lung: The New "Smoking" Threat


Teen smoking rates are at record lows, curbing the rate of future lung cancer incidence among young adults. However, a toxic chemical in vaping liquids has revealed itself to be the cause of a respiratory threat by smokers of the newly popular e-cigarette.

The chemical compound diacetyl made headlines a few years ago for causing “Popcorn Lung” in popcorn packaging plant workers. Popcorn Lung is a potentially debilitating disease that can foster obliterative bronchiolitis, a form of irreversible lung disease. The condition is popping off again due to diacetyl’s inclusion in the flavored liquids puffed via electronic cigarettes and other vaping instruments.

A recent study published by Environmental Health Perspectives examined 51 e-cig flavors that are popular amongst today’s youth. Levels of diacetyl were found to have exceeded the laboratory limit in 39 of those 51 flavors.

The popularity of the nascent smoke and vape industry among young smokers has been part of the national dialogue in recent years. Its under-regulated nature as compared to the tobacco industry is also reflected in the zeitgeist.

U.S. News and World Report noted that the 2015 Monitoring the Future survey report found that 60 percent of grade school students use vaping instruments to smoke cloud-forming liquids that are devoid of drugs and alcohol, yet are infused with a variety of flavors. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health released a study citing the multitude of flavor options of e-cigs being a deterrent to the smoking of traditional nicotine. The unsettling irony of a cultural shift towards a tobacco-free, healthy lung lifestyle is that it may, in fact, lead to yet another degenerative disease that has health organizations — and smokers— on high alert.

The smoke and vape industry is on the path to experience similar regulatory statutes from the FDA that have been levied in the past toward Big Tobacco. Smoke and vape is a $3.5 billion dollar industry according to MarketWatch. As a result, traditional smoking has experienced an 18% decrease from past years.

If you believe that you’re the victim of vape-induced Popcorn Lung or have experienced symptoms of this condition, contact Morgan & Morgan for a free consultation regarding your rights.