E-Cigs: The “Healthy Alternative” To Smoking Isn’t So Healthy
E-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes could be hazardous to your health! The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently began studying the effect of popular brands of e-cigs. While the E-Cigarette companies claim that their product is less harmful than traditional cigarettes, the E-Cigs may contain carcinogens and diacetyl – a substance that has been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans.
With e-cigarettes booming in popularity as a healthy alternative to traditional smoking, scientists have found that e-cigs may pose a significant threat to vapers.
So, are e-cigarettes safer than traditional smoking? Nobody knows yet.
Bronchiolitis Obliterans: “Popcorn Lung”
Popcorn lung is a severe respiratory condition that began to affect a number of popcorn factory workers in the early 2000s. The workers had developed the condition after inhaling the artificial butter flavoring in the microwave popcorn processing facility.
Airborne Diacetyl can obstruct passageways to your lungs called bronchioles, blocking airflow. After a long period of time, this can cause severe damage. In the early 2000s, before vaping became popular, those most at risk for Popcorn Lung were factory workers. However, there was at least one case of bronchiolitis obliterans in a consumer who consumed multiple bags of popcorn every day for more than a decade.
Symptoms of Bronchiolitis Obliterans can start gradually, or severe symptoms can occur suddenly. These typically include;
- Dry Cough;
- Shortness of Breath; and
The symptoms of popcorn lung are caused by inflammation and scarring in the airways of the lung. In severe cases, treatment can often require a lung transplant.
Diacetyl In E-Cigarettes & E-Juice
Currently, there are more than 7,000 varieties of flavored e-cigarettes and e-juice (used in refillable vaping devices) on the market. According to Science Alert, it would be nearly impossible to study every single brand and every single flavor. Instead, Joseph Allen, an exposure assessment expert at Harvard University selected 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes in nine different brands.
Each product was inserted into a sealed chamber attached to a device that drew air through the e-cigs for 8 seconds at a time. The analysis revealed that diacetyl was specifically present in 39 percent of the flavors tested. The research team found two other flavoring compounds – pentanedione and acetoin – in other flavors. In total, at least one of the three chemicals was detected in 47 of the 51 flavors tested.
Electronic Cigarettes Marketed To Teens & Young Adults
Like the traditional tobacco companies decades in the past, E-Cigarettes chose an easy market target; teenagers. High school students in the United States are vaping at increasingly high rates. In total, 4.5 percent of high school students told the Centers for Disease Control that they had used e-cigarettes within the last 30 days. This number has tripled since 2011.
Many parents are blaming the advertising. E-cigarette companies are allowed to advertise on TV. The e-cig commercials increased 256% between 2011 and 2013. The three biggest channels advertising e-cigs are AMC, Country Music Television, and Comedy Central; channels known to appeal to younger viewers.
Critics of e-cigarettes blame both marketing strategies and flavors themselves; “It’s pretty clear to the Lung Association that cotton candy e-cigarettes are not targeted at adults” said Erika Sward, assistant vice president of the national advocacy for the American Lung Association.
Allen and his team were concerned about the marketing of e-cigs to teenagers, so they chose flavors that appealed to children, teens, and young adults. The team looked for “fun” flavors like Cotton Candy, Vanilla Bean, and Cherry Crush. You can find a full list of flavors found to contain diacetyl or other chemicals in their research paper in Environmental Health Perspectives.
Do I Have An E-Cigarette Lawsuit?
The personal injury lawyers at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers are currently accepting e-cigarette injury cases in all 50 states. If you have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans or another lung disease after vaping e-cigarettes, contact our lawyers for a free case evaluation; 314-444-4444.