What Is Diacetyl And Why You Should Be Worried


diacetyl-3d-ballsOkay, so we know that PG and VG (the 2 main ingredients in e-juice) are already included in most of our everyday products proving that e-juice is basically safe, but what about the flavorings used in the e-juice we consume?

I am not trying to cause any paranoia or hysteria among us, but I did come across something interesting about the type of juice I usually buy.

What is Diacetyl

Diacetyl is probably something I studied back in high school but had no idea what it was. However, thanks to vaping I learned what this compound was in about 10 minutes (thank you Wikipedia).

So basically this is a flavoring that is used to produce a buttery flavor. All your custards, dessert, and creamy flavors have a high chance of containing diacetyl. If you follow my blog, you know how I love me some creamy candy juice!

It is also used in everyday products like beer, popcorn, and margarine. So nothing to be worried about, right?

The Dangers of Diacetyl

Here’s where it gets concerning. It turns out that diacetyl is safe to consume but dangerous when inhaled. There have been incidents where artificial popcorn butter factory workers have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, which is a rare and serious lung disease, after long exposure to diacetyl fumes.

This would probably be enough for me to stop buying dessert flavored e-juice, but I found out more interesting things as I looked more into how diacetyl played into e-juice. A very interesting research conducted by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos revealed that a lot of the e-juice we buy contain diacetyl.

The Findings

159 samples of e-juice were obtained from 36 manufacturers. 74.2% of these samples had diacetyl in them. The median daily exposure levels were slightly below safety standards, however 47.3% of these juices contained levels that were higher than the safety limit.

At this point, I am looking at the Butterscotch juice I just got from Mt. Baker Vapor and thinking if I should still vape it or not.

Should We Be Worried

Yes, because diacetyl does pose a risk to our lungs in particular. It is an avoidable risk, just don’t vape e-juice with diacetyl in it. This should in no way discourage people from vaping.

Why I am not Worried

I am NOT deterred from buying custard/cream/caramel e-juice, and this is why.

I am a former smoker, and I survived the nastiest chemicals known to man penetrating my lungs on a daily basis for a good amount of years. Although nearly half of the e-juice used in the research contained slightly dangerous amounts, cigarettes contain anywhere from 10-100 times more diacetyl in them compared to e-juice.

I survived that, and it’s not like I vape as much as I smoke. My vaping has evolved to more of something that I do to unwind after I get home from work. I relax, vape, and blog.

When I was a smoker, I would have at least one 15-minute cigarette break every hour, and in those 15 minutes I could squeeze in 2 cigarettes. That is not how I vape at all. I take a few, long drags and then I’m good.

Also, diacetyl is not the main ingredient of e-juice. If I was vaping pure diacetyl, then yes I would be worried but this isn’t the case.

The number of manufacturers used in the experiment is only a fraction of how many e-juice manufacturers are really out there. A growing number of these companies have diacetyl-free e-juice in their catalog. There are also diacetyl-free dessert flavors for people like me.

So no, I am not really worried that this changes my buying habits, but it does change my perspective on e-juice a lot. It makes me realize that the world of e-juice in itself is complex and  awesome, and I need to start learning more about it.

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Author: Mr. Long Drag

Former smoker turned vaper since 2013. I blog about questions that I and others might have about vaping. All I can say is it's a better alternative to cigarettes, nicotine gum, patches or medication, no matter what the Big Tobacco backed media says!

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