Do you enjoy reading our content? Feel free to donate here.

Diacetyl In Vaping – Lets Tell The Truth

West Coast Vape Supply

For the last 24 hours, my  social media news-feed has been bombarded with share after share of a recently published study from Harvard University.  I have received countless emails from people who have been inundated from non smoking friends telling them to go back to cigarettes because vaping is so dangerous.  If you have been in the vaping world for a while, you should already know about Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl, both of which have been a topic of heated discussion as they have been repeatedly linked to a condition known as “Popcorn Lung”. Grab a drink and get comfortable, because our post today “Diacetyl In Vaping – Lets Tell The Truth” is about to look at the details you should know and tell you everything they left out of the study.

Diacetyl Sounds Scary

We all know that if something sounds like a chemical name, everyone screams and loses their heads.  Mention the chemical name for water to most people, Dihydrogen Monoxide, and say that it is linked to the manufacture of chemical weapons.  9 times out of 10 they will call for the banning of H2O out of fear.  A few years ago, Diacetyl was linked to a COPD illness that gained the name of popcorn lung due to the circumstances under which it was first encountered.  It came to the attention of the general public when 8 workers at the Gilster-Mary Lee popcorn plant in Jasper Missouri developed bronchiolitis obliterans.  It was deemed that the irreversible illness was caused by inhaling airborne artificial butter flavoring (Diacetyl) within the factory.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NOISH) recommended that from that day forward anyone working in the microwave popcorn manufacturing field should wear respiratory protection.  The name was derived from the setting the disease came from, not some scary deformation of the lungs that looked like popcorn.

You have been Inhaling Diacetyl For Yearsdiacetyl smoke vs vapor

Vaping was designed for smokers who were looking to take a less hazardous path than traditional cigarettes.  The Harvard Report is quick to point out that vapers are exposing themselves to Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl along with Acetoin but forget to mention a very important point.  If you smoked before vaping you were already inhaling these chemical compounds in MUCH higher quantities.  As a real world comparison, the levels you would find in traditional cigarettes are so far below the “safe levels” or occupational limits set out by NOISH that the amounts found in vaping devices are negligible to say the least.  Unfortunately, as we have seen on many occasions, the public don’t look at numbers they just see scary words and freak out.  Don’t take my word for it,  most informed vapers know the name Dr. Farsalinos.  A proponent of vaping who is normally very quick to study the studies and he released his findings here.  In his report he noted:

In conclusion, the article is creating false impressions and exaggerates the potential risk from diacetyl and acetyl propionyl exposure through e-cigarettes. They failed to mention that these chemicals are present in tobacco cigarette smoke and violated a classical toxicological principle that the amount determines the toxicity and the risk.

Minimizing Exposure

While Dr. Farsalinos believes that manufacturers shouldn’t use these compounds in e-liquids, he believes that the discouraging smokers from vaping devices is much more hazardous to their health.  He states that this study is creating the impression that smokers are being exposed to compounds they have never encountered before, which in all honesty is misdirection. They will be bringing down their exposure even if they use the most Diacetyl ridden e-liquid currently being sold.


Vaping is harm reduction. As vapers, we choose to inhale something which we know to be 95% less harmful than cigarette smoke.  Many companies chose to remove the chemicals  mentioned in the study from their liquids and have had them tested to prove they are not present.  While I agree with the good Doctor that if a company still uses these ingredients that they should let their customers know, I would like to leave you with some questions:

If there has never been a single confirmed case of popcorn lung related to either cigarette smoking, where the levels are infinitely higher, or vaping why is everyone in such an uproar?  The entire time I smoked cigarettes, 2 packs a day for 22 years, I never heard of Diacetyl.  It wasn’t a problem for me because I had no scientists telling me I should be scared of it, they were to busy telling me about tar and other nasty things.

Is the fact that  research labs keep screaming that vaping is dangerous because of these flavorings simple fear mongering, as without this cause for concern they have no valid argument against the industry?

As always, enjoy your vaporizer and vape safe!

Daniel Hall
Daniel Hall

Avid Vaper, advocate and cloud chaser. Writer for 3 vaping websites and broadcaster/presenter as Vapin Demon on Coast 2 Coast Vapers. Originally from Manchester, England, I got bored one day and moved to the USA. Vaping saved my life and my aim is to save as many others as I can.

Show all Most Helpful Highest Rating Lowest Rating Add your review
  1. Please sir, could I have some more?

  2. Your articles are fabulous!! Your approach to vaping is wonderful and I wish more people would remind the world that as vapers we started out looking for a far less dangerous approach to cigarettes that would still satisfy us in a way that NR products did not…IOW, to satisfy the psychological issues with smoking as well as the physiological ones! For myself, having been a smoker for over 40 years, I attempted quitting smoking using every NRT out there and it wasn’t until I found vaping that I was able to quit! I’ve been cigarette free for 4+ years now and I am happy to say I no longer get upper respiratory infections several times a year, no more hacking my brains out all day, I can walk and breath at the same time, and best of all (aside from all the health issues) I no longer smell like or taste like a dirty ashtray! So I may be taking some risks with vaping but I know, for a scientifically proven fact, that vaping is FAR less dangerous (and possibly not dangerous at all) than cigarettes!!
    Please keep writing these articles and hopefully they will reach new vapers on the verge of running or people who are considering vaping but get put off but Big Tobacco industry and the government’s SCARE TACTICS!!! Bravo!! Write On!!!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I am an ex-smoker (22 years) and I write about vaping for as long as humanly possible. My story is similar to yours and also many thousands of others who are classed as anecdotal evidence and as long as the man who is behind the Guide To Vaping curtain allows me to continue to educate and inform, I am here for the community. Vaping changed my life and I do everything in my power to pass it forward in the best way I know how. I didn’t start vaping because I thought it would be a fun hobby, I did it to improve my health. This community works because we are all living proof that the technology works and we need to make our message louder and more inspiring than those who try to bring us down: They want to regulate and destroy, we want people living longer happier lives. We know which argument should win, but they don’t want to fight fair.

  3. well while i also believe that that study is simply bought by the tabak lobby, suprise they have someone at harvard, there could be something onto it. inziugarettes you burn the diaceryl while in the popcorn factory is get vaporized by microwaves so relative similar to vaping. so i theory vaping could be indeed more harmful in that way.

    problem is it isnt even clear how and in which way dyacetyl is linked to the popcorn loungh syndrom so its basically!just wild guessing.

    still ofc it would be not a bad idea to leave it out at all, better safe then sorry
    cleaner vaping productd are always welcome and it is really time for clear marking of any vaping product about their component.
    iam willing to pay more for tested and clean vaping products not because of fewar but common sense

  4. Your thinking is incorrect . You will not hear popcorn lung associated with cigarette smoking .

    There are 4000 deadly chemicals in cigs , diketones is just one of many , that does not mean diketones has not had a dramatic impact on smokers health because a smokers health issues that are related to smoking are ALWAYS called other things like COPD etc…

    It’s certainly not because diketones are not that bad , many medical professionals blame the diketones in cigarettes to causing all the breating issues people suffer with from smoking cigarettes but they will never call it popcorn lung .

    Nowadays people are vaping much much more juice and at very high wattages , since not all e juice has lower diketone levels than cigarettes (Five Pawns” juice alone proved this ) it’s irresponsible to say you should not be worried , i would be very cautious .

    Unfortunately we will not know the health consequences of vaping large amounts of juice that contain diketones at high wattage for years to come because most have only been doing it a couple years .

    Smoking real cigarettes took quite a long time to find out how bad they were as well . Be patient , in the mean time i would opt for e juice that DOES NOT contain diketones so this will be a complete non factor .

    • Preach it! These multi billion dollar vape lobbiests are just as bad as the tobacco companies were. Using parts of studies to make them sound good for you like 3.3v results that no one would vape at while calling out media for displaying results for 5v that “no one would vape at”. Excluding words like maybe, possibly and stating them as facts like 95%. No studies are out on the gear we us today and almost all ejuice contains these chemicals they just are not required to report them unless they exceed a %/ml. I said it many times, nicotine inhalers results show formeldahyde, how did they “dry burn” that? Most all ejuice does and it has nothing to do with Volts, Volts just increases it as all the studies obviously show.

  5. “If there has never been a single confirmed case of popcorn lung related to either cigarette smoking, where the levels are infinitely higher, or vaping why is everyone in such an uproar?” Sounds like another lobbiest to me. No smokers get COPD? Where do you come up with that BS?

Leave a reply

Guide To Vaping