The e-cigarette has been a popular alternative to smoking since they were introduced to the consumer market over a decade ago. But new studies show that vaping, as it is now commonly known, may not necessarily be a safe alternative to cigarettes.

The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition recently released information from new studies about e-cigarettes and harmful chemicals found in the e-liquids.

Even though nicotine levels in e-liquids are adjustable, the liquid still contains harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, acetoin, propylene glycol, glycerin, and nicotine. Diacetyl is another harmful chemical in e-liquids also commonly found in microwaveable butter flavored popcorn.

According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, 75 percent of flavored e-cigarettes, and the refill liquids were found to contain diacetyl. Studies show that e-cigarettes that contain diacetyl can cause lung damage and may also lead to ‘Popcorn Lung.’

‘Popcorn Lung’ is an incurable disease that causes scarring in tiny air sacs in the lungs. The bronchioles become constricted resulting in a decrease in air flow throughout the lungs which may lead to coughing or shortness of breath.  E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA.