Vaping News

Does Vaping Cause 'Popcorn Lung'?

Many organisations are warning that vaping causes popcorn lung. This week we respond with a definitive answer to: Does vaping cause popcorn lung in vapers?

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“Vaping is touted as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes with fewer health issues,” writes the go-to source for all health matters This is the point the writer departs from sanity and selectively chooses some sources to support a whole raft of ridiculous assertions about vaping. Planet of the Vapes gives you the definitive answer to the question ‘Does vaping cause popcorn lung?’

Does vaping cause popcorn lung? No.

“Vaping is bad for you as it can damage your lungs. The American Lung Association warns that popcorn lung (bronchiolitis obliterans) is a dangerous risk of flavoured e-cigraettes [sic]. The Surgeon General in the U.S warns that breathing in vape smoke can increase your risk of developing popcorn lung.”

Does vaping cause popcorn lung? No.

Some of the dangers lists off:

  • We don’t know what’s in them – we do
  • It contains chemicals – so does chips, beer, cars and air
  • It causes popcorn lung (bronchiolitis obliterans) – it doesn’t
  • Vaping gives you asthma – it doesn’t
  • Vaping doesn’t work as a quit tool – it does
  • Eliquids contain more nicotine than advertised – they don’t
  • Vaping damages your DNA – only if you are a submerged bunch of cells in a petri dish
  • Vaping damages your brain – it doesn’t

Does vaping cause popcorn lung? No.

The Tobacco Products Directive requires juice to be sold in the UK without diacetyl and with testing carried out on (among others) the nicotine content.

Even when liquids had diacetyl in them, the levels were substantially below that found in cigarette smoke.

No smoker has been diagnosed with popcorn lung due to smoking. Ever.

No vaper has been diagnosed with popcorn lung due to vaping. Ever.

Does vaping cause popcorn lung? No.

The studies selected by are all flawed in one way or another. Vaping has existed as a mainstream activity for over ten years. During this time there has not been a single illness or death due to vaping. Not one individual has presented at a hospital and been diagnosed. Not one.

Martin Dockrell wrote on behalf of Public Health England: “One of the most commonly held concerns is that e-cigarettes might cause ‘popcorn lung’. This came about because some flavourings used in e-liquids to provide a buttery flavour contain the chemical diacetyl, which at very high levels of exposure has been associated with the serious lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans.”

“The condition gained its popular name because it was initially observed among workers in a popcorn factory. However, diacetyl is banned as an ingredient from e-cigarettes and e-liquids in the UK. It had been detected in some e-liquid flavourings in the past, but at levels hundreds of times lower than in cigarette smoke. Even at these levels, smoking is not a major risk factor for this rare disease.”

Does vaping cause popcorn lung? No.

Other myths Martin debunked in 2018:

  • E-cigarettes aren’t regulated and we don’t know what’s in them
  • E-cigarettes must be harmful as they contain nicotine
  • Exposure to e-cigarette vapour is harmful to bystanders
  • E-cigarettes will lead young people into smoking
  • E-cigarettes are being used as a Trojan horse – so the tobacco industry can keep people smoking
  • E-cigarettes don't help you quit smoking

Does vaping cause popcorn lung? No.


  • “Clearing up some myths around e-cigarettes” by Public Health England – [link]
Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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