An e-cigarette liquid on sale in Newcastle has been found to contain a potentially toxic chemical with links to lung disease.
The butterscotch-flavoured refill, manufactured by the VIP brand, contained diacetyl –a flavouring often found in margarine. But even though it’s safe to eat, doctors have warned that it isn’t safe to inhale.
This chemical has even been associated with a condition called ‘popcorn worker’s lung’. Diacetyl was ingested in large quantities by those working in popcorn factories, as it is one of the main ingredients. But some long-term workers were left so unwell that they required a lung transplant.
The investigation into the safety of e-cigarette liquids was performed by the BBC. Researchers bought four products and sent them to a laboratory to be analysed.
VIP’s refill, which was bought at the Metrocentre in Newcastle, was the only e-cigarette liquid deemed to be unsafe.
Even though it has since been withdrawn from sale, VIP spokeswoman Lynne White said: ‘It was deemed in the short term that there would be no health concerns. Long-term – yes, there could well be.
‘However, we decided it was a withdrawal rather than a recall of the product and that was based on industry guidelines.’
E-cigarettes have split opinion in the science community, with some doctors concerned by the lack of regulation that the industry enjoys at present.
A programme about the investigation is being broadcast on BBC1 at 7.30pm on Monday for viewers in the north-east of England.