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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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June 2020 (Vol. 5 Issue 4)

Just like normal cigarettes, e-cigarettes cause lung disease
About the author: 

Just like normal cigarettes, e-cigarettes cause lung disease image

A chemical in sweet-flavoured e-cigarettes can cause a severe respiratory disease known as popcorn lung.

The chemical, diacetyl, is found in around three-quarters of e-cigarette (vaper) brands.

It causes bronchiolitis obliterans, a respiratory disease commonly called popcorn lung after it was first discovered in workers who breathed artificial butter flavours in microwave popcorn processing plants. The chemical is used to add flavour to sweet snacks such as popcorn and cupcakes and candy floss (cotton candy). Health agencies say the chemical isn`t a health hazard in the products, but can become lethal when heated up, as happens in an e-cigarette.

There are around 7,000 varieties of flavoured e-cigarettes and e-juices, liquids containing nicotine used in refillable devices, in the US alone.

In a test of 51 types of flavoured e-cigarettes, researchers at the Harvard T H Chan school of public health discovered that around 75 per cent of them contained diacetyl. In a simple test in a sealed chamber, the researchers found that the emissions from 39 of the brand were above levels considered to be safe.
America`s health watchdog, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is considering whether to start regulating e-cigarettes. Although the cigarettes don`t contain nicotine, they do include other chemicals including diacetyl that could be just as harmful, say the researchers


(Source: Environmental Health Perspectives, 2015; doi: 10.1289/ehp.1510185)

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