FDA Says Diacetyl is GRAS

popcorn lung diacetylHave you heard any stories lately regarding e-cigarettes, diacetyl and respiratory illness? A recent study conducted at Harvard measured levels of potentially hazardous flavouring chemicals including diacetyl, which is used primarily in the production of foods such as butter, butterscotch, butter flavoured popcorn, some alcoholic beverages and some e-juices.

The FDA regards diacetyl as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) and allows it to be consumed, but possibly not safe for inhaling. This has caused a bit of concern for vapers, as prolonged inhalation is known to cause bronchiolitis obliterans, or “popcorn lung.”  However, the only current data is a case of one American popcorn aficionado who ate two bags daily for 10 years and was diagnosed with said lung disease, his kitchen showing diacetyl levels comparable to a popcorn plant.

Don’t panic! Your e-juice is safe.

Further study of diacetyl and e-juice does not show any actual link between e-cigarettes and respiratory illness. In fact, the same chemical is present in tobacco cigarettes, and in a much greater quantity. The Harvard study found the average diacetyl levels of the products they tested were about 9.0 mg per e-cigarette cartridge.

A different study a few years back found 300-400 mg of the chemical in just one tobacco cigarette. If you consider that one cartridge of e-juice is usually sufficient for a full day’s vaping, and remembering there are many e-juice manufacturers now guaranteeing their products to be diacetyl-free, it would seem we can safely dismiss the latest horror headlines without worry.

Every story should have a moral, so here’s the moral for this one – alarming headlines often pretend to be breaking news when they are not, so investigate before you freak out! The vape industry has already addressed the use of this and other harmful chemicals, and while there are substandard companies out there who still produce e-juice that contains diacetyl, most companies have already ensured their products to be free of it and other similar chemicals, thus ensuring the health and safety of their customers.

Have you heard any stories, scary or otherwise, about e-cigarettes you’d like us to investigate?  Let us know!

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