It’s hard to imagine a time before a cotton candy cloud of vape smoke greeted you at every corner.
While at first, it seemed like vaping was the healthier alternative to smoking, the habit has some potentially deadly downsides – namely, popcorn lung.
Yes, that’s a real condition but when you consider that you potentially got it from something called an elf bar that smells like fruit pastels it feels pretty trippy.
So, what is popcorn lung? Well, according to Healthline, “Bronchiolitis obliterans is a rare form of lung disease. It’s commonly called popcorn lung. Popcorn lung results in scarring and inflammation to the bronchioles. These are the lung’s smallest airways.”
Right, but what’s with the weird name? Well, turns out that popcorn lung is so called because workers at a popcorn factory got sick after breathing in the chemicals, one of which was diacetyl, which is also commonly used in vapes.
Despite the silly-sounding name, the condition is very, very serious, as expert Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, from the Tobacco Treatment Clinic at Johns Hopkins University told the Daily Mail.
The expert said: “It’s as brutal as disease as it sounds… if you develop it you have a 95 percent of dying within five years.”
The disease isn’t reversible, but it can be managed and causes symptoms similar to asthma, such as shortness of breath and coughing.
Still, in serious cases, the disease could require operations and may result in death.
So, it seems like vaping isn’t exactly a healthier alternative to smoking, as Galiatsatos adds: “Whether it’s vaping, e-cigarettes or combustible cigarettes. They all come with noxious chemicals that exploit the addictive properties of nicotine.”
While that all sounds pretty scary, it’ll give you peace of mind to know that diacetyl is banned in UK e-cigarette liquid. Even so, always check the label/ingredient list for your vape as several counterfeits have made their way onto the market in recent months.
A good way to tell if a vape is legal in the UK is by checking the ingredient list and how much liquid the vape pen can hold.
As the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR) continue to “restrict e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2ml [and] restrict the maximum volume of nicotine-containing e-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10ml.”
They also “Restrict e-liquids to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml,” which means that anything over these measurements is technically illegal in the UK.
As always be vigilant and the best alternative to smoking is, well, not smoking.