The Hidden Dangers of Diacetyl in E-Liquid

Whether you're a dedicated fan of electronic smoking or only an occasional e-cig user, you've probably read and heard some of the common concerns regarding the chemicals used in e-liquid. The need to examine any relatively new product is certainly understandable. However, much misinformation seems to have made its way into the public consciousness. Fortunately, some of the hype related to vaping may have been dissipated in favor of scientific research.

A few facts are worth considering: First, most of the food flavorings utilized in e-liquids are recognized as generally safe for public consumption. Second, the amount of flavoring needed to produce the intended effect is very little, in terms of e-liquid use. Finally, when such additives are inhaled, they may be further diminished by the combination of air and vapor.

The Exception to the Rule

Although such findings are encouraging to many e-cig users, there is an exception to the rule: diacetyl. E-liquids that contain this compound are potentially hazardous to those who inhale them. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), and World Health Organization (WHO) have all presented reports that detail the possible harmful effect of this chemical when it is present in certain products.

Understanding What Diacetyl Actually Is

Diacetyl is actually a natural compound, but it is also produced synthetically by various manufacturers. It comes in the form of a greenish-yellow liquid, and it has a flavor that is very buttery. Consequently, this liquid has been used as a flavoring in a variety of food products, from microwave popcorn to non-stick cooking sprays. Certain e-liquid manufacturers have also used the compound as a flavoring in their products.

The Harmful Effects of Inhaling Diacetyl

Research is currently being conducted on the effects of diacetyl on the health of workers in microwave popcorn factories. Because these workers inhale this chemical on a regular basis, they may be prone to developing moderate to severe respiratory issues. One condition has even been referred to as "popcorn lung" and "popcorn workers' lung." The medical term for this disease is "bronchiolitis obliterans." A person suffering from this condition will experience obstruction of the bronchioles, which are airways in the lungs. Essentially, this is a serious condition that inhibits an individual's ability to breathe.

Even if a person who inhales diacetyl does not develop bronchiolitis obliterans, the signs of asthma could manifest. Such an individual might suffer from wheezing and shortness of breath, as well as a dry cough. If left undiagnosed and untreated, all of these symptoms may lead to other health problems over time.

Avoiding Diacetyl in E-Liquid

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has thus far determined that diacetyl is safe for human consumption, ongoing research could ultimately lead to a reversal of that determination. The food additive is currently under investigation, and many food companies and e-liquid manufacturers have chosen to use safer alternatives in their products. If OSHA is concerned about the health of workers who must inhale this chemical, then people who enjoy electronic smoking would likely be well-advised to avoid it.

Fortunately, you can get diacetyl-free e-liquid, so you don't need to stop using e-cigs. You can still enjoy electronic smoking, but you should probably choose e-liquids that are free of this chemical.

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