Just a few years ago, electronic cigarettes were touted as a safe alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Expensive ad campaigns were launched, heavily hyping that e-cigarettes produced harmless vapor that wouldn’t cause the adverse health effects that regular cigarette smoking did. Many bought into it, but there remained a segment of people, myself included, remaining dubious about such claims.
Turns out that such skepticism is justified. According to a bombshell new study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, it turns out that electronic cigarettes contain chemicals and flavor enhancers that prove to be even more hazardous than nicotine. However, since most medical studies and reports focus exclusively on nicotine consumption, these additives and flavorants have gone largely unheeded, until now.
For this study, Harvard researchers tested 51 brands of electronic cigarettes available. Their findings are startling. 75 percent of e-cigs tested contain harmful chemicals and additives responsible for the potentially lethal disease bronchiolitis obliterans, or as it’s known in the medical industry, popcorn lung.
Popcorn lung received its name when microwave popcorn factory workers developed the disease after constantly inhaling fumes and vapor containing diacetyl. This artificial flavorant is the primary ingredient in imitation butter used for microwave popcorn. Alas, diacetyl isn’t just found in imitation butter as the food industry loves to use it to produce other fake flavors, including candy, fruit and alcohol.
Diacetyl isn’t the only harmful chemical found in electronic cigarettes. Harvard researchers also discovered acetoin and 2-3 pentanedione, both of which also cause respiratory problems when inhaled consistently. You might be wondering why manufacturers continue to use these chemicals despite their known harmfulness. The answer is twofold: it’s cheap to use and a person’s health is not top priority when there’s a profit to be made.
Popcorn lung is no laughing matter as the condition is considered incurable by medical doctors. It’s a permanent scarring of the lungs from the inside out. Without a lung transplant, survival and recovery is virtually nil. Quite a price to pay for attempting to be trendy by smoking electronic cigarettes.
I have never understood the appeal of smoking any kind of cigarette. Not only is it a costly habit that eats a serious hole in one’s wallet, the health problems both tobacco and electronic cigarettes cause far outweigh any supposed benefits they offer. With all the knowledge we possess today regarding smoking of any kind, it’s a wonder why anyone would even try it at all.