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The truth about 'Popcorn Lung'

Popcorn lung, also known as bronchiolitis obliterans, is a rare non-cancerous pulmonary disease that is characterized by the accumulation of scar tissue in the lungs, leading to airflow obstruction. While a potential correlation has been suggested between the disease and the chemical compound diacetyl, further research is necessary to establish a definitive link.


The term 'popcorn lung' was coined after a group of workers in a popcorn factory developed the condition due to inhalation of diacetyl, which was used as a flavoring agent in the popcorn. It is important to note that this was not related to the use of e-cigarettes. Although bronchiolitis obliterans is sometimes referred to as 'popcorn lung', it can be caused by various factors, including infections and exposure to harmful chemicals.


There has been concern about the potential link between diacetyl and e-cigarettes, as some e-cigarette liquids previously contained the compound. However, in the United Kingdom, diacetyl has been prohibited in e-cigarette liquids under the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) since 2016. Therefore, e-liquids sold in the UK should not contain diacetyl. Furthermore, there have been no confirmed cases of popcorn lung associated with e-cigarette use.

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