Study Shows Dr. Oz Warning Correct About Vaping Habit Poisoning Smokers
Are you one of the many smokers who view vaping as a healthy alternative to cigarette smoking? If so, then you may want to know about the risk of “Popcorn Lung” disease from your vaping habit.
Last year, Dr. Oz warned viewers about the possible health consequences of taking up a vaping habit in lieu of cigarette smoking. Vaping is the act of using a smokeless nicotine delivery device that is filled with liquid nicotine adulterated with chemical flavorings that make the vaping experience more pleasurable and without the smoke inhalation complications of cigarettes. Currently there are more than 7,000 varieties of flavored e-cigarettes and e-juice (nicotine-containing liquid that is used in refillable devices) on the market that includes “fun” flavors such as raspberry, key lime, peaches and cream—and even cotton candy and gummy bears!
“But the fun flavors should not hide the risk,” says Dr. Oz. “Along with the nicotine, E-juice may have additives and contaminants that could be carcinogenic.”
As it turns out, Dr. Oz’s warning about the additives in E-juice appear now to be not far off the mark as reports of a recent study reveal that the majority of a sampling of 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes sold by leading e-cigarette brands and flavors that are appealing to young vapers contain a chemical flavoring additive called “diacetyl” that is known to cause Popcorn Lung disease in workers exposed to the chemical.
Popcorn Lung disease is technically known as bronchiolitis obliterans—an irreversible medical condition where scarring occurs in the tiny air sacs in the lungs where oxygen is passed on to the bloodstream. In 2004, the CDC reported several cases of bronchiolitis obliterans in workers in a microwave popcorn plant in Missouri that was attributed to the diacetyl flavoring chemical used to give popcorn its buttery taste. People affected by the chemical spend the rest of their lives with constant coughing and shortness of breath.
“Recognition of the hazards associated with inhaling flavoring chemicals started with ‘popcorn lung’ over a decade ago. However, diacetyl and other related flavoring chemicals are used in many other flavors beyond butter-flavored popcorn, including fruit flavors, alcohol flavors, and, we learned in our study, candy-flavored e-cigarettes,” said lead author Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment sciences.
In the study, Dr. Allen and colleagues tested 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes and liquids with a special device that mimics the act of vaping via an e-cigarette inside a sealed chamber that draws air through the e-cigarette for eight seconds at a time with a resting period of 15 or 30 second between each draw. The air stream (vapors from the e-cigarette) was then analyzed.
What they found was that in 39 of the 51 flavors tested, diacetyl was detected in amounts that were above the laboratory limit of detection. Other potentially risky chemicals were also detected in the majority of the e-cigarettes tested.
The researchers concluded that, “Due to the associations between diacetyl, bronchiolitis obliterans and other severe respiratory diseases observed in workers, urgent action is recommended to further evaluate this potentially widespread exposure via flavored e-cigarettes.”
“Since most of the health concerns about e-cigarettes have focused on nicotine, there is still much we do not know about e-cigarettes. In addition to containing varying levels of the addictive substance nicotine, they also contain other cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, and as our study shows, flavoring chemicals that can cause lung damage,” stated study co-author David Christiani, Elkan Blout Professor of Environmental Genetics.
For more information about the risks of e-cigarettes and a vaping habit, here are some select articles for further review:
Harvard Gazette “Chemical flavorings found in e-cigarettes linked to lung disease”
“Flavoring Chemicals in E-Cigarettes: Diacetyl, 2,3-Pentanedione, and Acetoin in a Sample of 51 Products, Including Fruit-, Candy-, and Cocktail-Flavored E-Cigarettes” Environmental Health Perspectives DOI:10.1289/ehp.1510185; Joseph G. Allen et al.