VG Is Not A Lipid

Posted 30th September 2019 by Dave Cross
“Europe does not appear to be experiencing an outbreak of the ‘vaping sickness’ gripping the U.S.,” writes Sarah Wheaton for Politico. Anti-vape campaigners know this and are seeking to address it by whipping up non-stories about lung disease and “lipoid pneumonia” in the U.K.

Constantine Vardavas, a scientific relations director with the European Respiratory Society, recently said: “We have not seen anything like what we’ve seen in the U.S. recently in Europe, to my knowledge as a scientist, and I’m pretty aware of the field.”

Serial fabricator Stanton Glantz has been rolled out to change this perception. “Lipoid pneumonia from e-cigs is turning up in England, too,” he claims on Twitter, citing his blog as evidence.

“It’s fair to say that there were early warning signs that were missed. These cases have been reported for several years but nobody put two and two together because they were too isolated.”

“Our colleagues in England who remain wedded to e-cigs have been saying that the cases of lipoid pneumonia are an American phenomena [sic]. They missed this case report,” writes Glantz, referring to a paper by clinicians at the Birmingham Heartlands Hospital.


“What they [PHE on THC liquids] are saying is frankly ridiculous. Lungs are lungs. To argue that the health effects being observed somehow stop at the water line when you move on to the British Isles is silly. I can’t figure it out. There is some kind of groupthink going on over there, it’s almost like watching a religious cult.”

Viswam, Trotter, Burge, and Walters reported in “Respiratory failure caused by lipoid pneumonia from vaping e-cigarettes”: “A young female vaper presented with insidious onset cough, progressive dyspnoea on exertion, fever, night sweats and was in respiratory failure when admitted to hospital.”

“A video-assisted thoracoscopicsurgical biopsy was done later and was suggestive of lipoid pneumonia. The only source of lipid was the vegetable glycerine [VG/glycerol] found in e-cigarette.”

The problem here for Glantz, Viswam, Trotter, Burge, and Walters is one of GCSE-level Chemistry: Glycerol is involved in the formation of some lipids, but glycerol is not a lipid. Glycerol has an OH hydroxyl group for every carbon atom, it is soluble in water - it is impossible to term it a lipid.

We Vape

This very simple fact has been pointed out to Glantz on numerous occasions, but he is selectively ignoring it. Planet of the Vapes has contacted two of the doctors responsible for the paper asking for their reasoning but we have not heard back at time of writing.

In 2015, responding to a similar report, Ricardo Polosa said: “There is no way vaping could put people at risk for lipoid pneumonia simply because vaporisation of commercially available e-liquids do not contain fatlike material.”

It mirrored what Doctor Konstantinos Farsalinos said in 2014: “The issue of glycerol (also called glycerine) causing lipoid pneumonia is scientifically non-existent. The statements mentioned in the media about the case in Spain are exposing the scientists, who are obliged to know and understand basic chemistry laws.”


  • “Respiratory failure caused by lipoid pneumonia from vaping e-cigarettes” by Viswam, Trotter, Burge, and Walters - [link]
  • Europe’s missing ‘vaping sickness’, Sarah Wheaton – [link]
  • Doctors, open your textbooks: glycerol CANNOT cause lipoid pneumonia (but other things can), Dr Farsalinos – [link]
  • Toxic, POTV – [link]

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker