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Is Popcorn Lung Still Even A Thing, Guys?

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Estimated 3 min read

I thought we were done with this topic, until someone who just found out about vaping approached me today to warn me about popcorn lung.

Put your hands up if you have been told vaping will give you Popcorn lung?

With so much negativity surrounding vaping – plus the topic of popcorn lung re-circling its way around vaping conversations like sharks preparing to attack – it’s time to put this myth to rest for all the “know-it-alls” who buy into mass media headlines.

But first, let’s go over what popcorn lung really is so we don’t confuse the illness with the delicious and “more-ish” cinema snack.


Popcorn Lung got its name over a decade ago when it was reported a large amount of workers in a microwave popcorn factory were irreversibly sickened from breathing in Diacetyl, a buttery-flavoring agent and chemical found in the following food items:

  • Chocolate Cookies
  • Cocoa-flavor products
  • Gelatin
  • Candy
  • Flour mixes
  • Syrup with flavoring
  • Frostings
  • Chewing gum
  • Ice cream
  • Soft drinks
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter
  • Beer and wine
  • Honey
  • Coffee, coffee beans, and coffee grounds


Scarring in the lungs was found, ultimately leading to coughing and shortness of breath. When inhaled in massive quantities, diacetyl can cause bronchiolitis obliterans – these days referred to as “popcorn lung”. While some may find this name humorous it’s really no joke, as similar symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have been linked to the it.

It goes without saying that Diacetyl was promptly removed from popcorn products, but then, as e-juice creation evolved throughout its infancy, it came back into the limelight as a way to enhance flavor profiles with extreme creaminess and buttery goodness. And damn was it tasty.

Like many businesses that are product-driven, when there is speculation that something has the potential to be threatening or damaging to ones health, any smart operator will terminate its use in the hopes to please the consumer and maintain longevity in their respected industry.

This was the case for Diacetyl.

Rather than fighting the barrage of false, damaging articles and public outcry, the industry just decided to be the bigger man and walk away, closing the chapter on another unwarranted stigma.

Although there are still many companies out there producing e-juices with Diacetyl, if you are buying from a reputable source there’s a chance that they too changed with the times and removed it from their formulas. But some of the ones who haven’t would really, really surprise you.

Lets face the facts and shut this topic down as it was so nineties.

  1. To date, there is absolutely no proof that vaping Diacetyl has led to popcorn lung
  2. People consume Diacetyl on a daily basis, mostly without even knowing they are
  3. Mass media and anti-vapers will do and say anything to scare the Bejesus out of you
  4. We are exposed to more dangerous chemicals in the air we breath


To finish up, cigarettes also contain Diacetyl, that amounts up to 2,200 times higher than e-cigarettes, and they’ve never been the cause of popcorn lung. So why bring vaping into it?

Riddle. Me. That.

thriller gif popcorn

Currently based in Sydney Australia. Ex-Smoker who has spent the last 3 years heavily involved in the vape industries of the USA, UK, and Australia.. Get In touch, Ryan@vapetrotter.com

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