Diacetyl Vape. Good or Bad?

14 min

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What’s all the Fuss About?

Diacetyl is a term known to every vaper. There is so much sensation and hustle around it that it might be quite challenging to get down to bed-rock. In this post, we will tell you unvarnished facts about diacetyl vape that you need to know.

Diacetyl is the term that media scare the vapers with quite often. Should you be afraid of it so much? Let’s figure it out together.

What is Diacetyl?

What is diacetyl in the first place? A while ago, Harvard University tested a large number of e-liquids and found diacetyl in three-quarters of the total amount of the products.

Since that moment, media started speculating that diacetyl is dangerous for human health and that it causes severe illnesses. What is, in fact, this substance, how does it get into your e-liquid and what are the effects of vaping it?

Diacetyl is the name of an organic compound with the following chemical formula: CH3CO2. Its other name is 2,3-butanedione. It is a liquid that has a yellow to green color and tastes like butter. Fun fact: you don’t have to be a vaper to consume diacetyl: they add this organic compound to butter together with acetoin for flavoring purposes.

You can also quite often find this flavoring agent as a part of alcoholic beverages. Diacetyl is found in popcorn as a flavoring as well. According to FDA, it is considered safe for humans to consume this agent.

Diacetyl Threat: Popcorn Lung Case

We’ve already mentioned diacetyl in popcorn above, so we probably need to tell you about the popcorn lung disease. It is a common name for bronchiolitis obliterans, a severe condition, characterized by lung tissue damage and labored respiration. This health condition was found in eight microwave popcorn factory workers who breathed in the diacetyl fumes from the butter flavorings back in 2002 in Missouri.

The affected factory workers spent full shifts in areas highly polluted with diacetyl (the count was as high as 18 parts per million). Such a long-time exposure to high concentration of diacetyl fumes caused severe health issues. For this reason, factory workers later received protective equipment that prevented them from inhaling diacetyl fumes.

There is also a story of a man who had microwaved popcorn every day for ten years and eventually suffered from bronchiolitis obliterans. He inhaled too many diacetyl fumes for too long.

That’s how diacetyl received its doubtful reputation. The Harvard University drуw a parallel between the two cases, described above, and claimed that diacetyl in vape juice poses a risk to human health.

The symptoms of bronchiolitis obliterans are similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is quite common among tobacco cigarette smokers. It is worth noting that popcorn lung condition can only be diagnosed with the help of a surgical lung biopsy.

Until now, there hasn’t been a single case of a diagnosed case of popcorn lung in a vaper. It doesn’t prove that inhaling diacetyl is a hundred percent safe, but it demonstrates that it isn’t likely to happen. At the same time, smoking regular cigarettes is a sentence to your health in any case.

Diacetyl in E-Liquids: Harvard Study Perspective

Harvard University examined a large number of e-liquids from eight non-related brands and determined that there was diacetyl in three out of four e-liquids. According to the results of the research, there was diacetyl in 39 of 51 e-liquid samples. However, you should remember that we are speaking of 8 brands only.

The analysis did not determine that vaping diacetyl leads to any respiratory diseases. The research indicated that further study of the matter is needed, and we agree with this point completely. Every consumer has the right to know whether the products they get are safe for their health.

It’s also worth mentioning that the count of diacetyl, found in the e-liquid vapor, is 9.0 micrograms according to the Harvard research. In the meantime, diacetyl count in tobacco smoke is as high as 335.9 micrograms. It’s an obvious point that smoking regular cigarettes exposes a person to more health risks compared to vaping.

Why is There Diacetyl in E-Liquids

Diacetyl is often found among e-liquid flavorings. It is not a part of nicotine, PG or VG. Usually, diacetyl is found in flavors like cherry, pastry, and custard.

Blending e-liquids is a complex process that requires corresponding knowledge and skills. A well-trained chemist should control this process in a well-equipped laboratory. Unfortunately, small e-juice companies and even some vape shops make e-liquids on their own.

Even if their intentions are pure, they can add things that don’t mix well and don’t bring any use to your health. We recommend you to put back to the shelf the bottle that says something like “natural and artificial flavorings”. It is very likely to contain diacetyl. Even if there is no diacetyl on the label, only a chemist can confirm that the e-liquid does not include it after a thorough examination.

How to Avoid Diacetyl in E-Liquids?

You can avoid vaping diacetyl easily. All you need to do is to get high-quality e-liquids that do not contain diacetyl. We recommend turning your attention to verified vendors who have a good reputation. Most of the top e-liquid manufacturers offer diacetyl-free e juices.

Such vendors do not merely claim that there is no diacetyl, they have independent lab test results to prove their words. You can check the lab tests results to make sure that the e-liquid ingredients are safe for your health.

VaporFi and Halo set the example for the whole market with their high-tech facilities, professional technicians and well-trained chemists.

In any case, any connection between vaping diacetyl and lung condition hasn’t been proven yet. Still, if you have any safety concerns, you can peacefully vape juice without diacetyl. To avoid diacetyl, don’t buy any e-liquids from unknown vendors who don’t show the e-juice components and do not offer any lab test results. Such things should ring a bell for you.

Companies Making Diacetyl-Free E-Liquids

If you are looking for diacetyl free e-juice vendors, this list of verified companies should be useful for you.


VaporFi is a great e-liquid provider with an excellent reputation. Their lab facilities are FDA-registered. Their e-liquid formula is on file with the FDA as well. This vendor offers a wide range of diacetyl-free flavors. You can choose the VG and PG ration, as well as the nicotine level that fits your vaping style.

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Halo: Evo E-Liquid

Halo is a US-based company that manufacturers their e-liquids in their Gainesville facility in Florida. This vendor offers dozens of flavors you can choose from. The Evo line of e-liquids has fruit, gourmet and tobacco flavors. There is an option to select the VG and PG ratio as well as nicotine level.

Black Note E-Liquid

Looking for a diacetyl free vape juice, you can come upon a company called Black Note. This verified vendor offers e-juices that contain naturally extracted tobacco flavors and no diacetyl. The tobacco used in their flavors is grown around the world, and the flavor extraction process takes eight weeks.

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Final Thoughts on Vaping Diacetyl

There is a lot of information about potential threats of vaping. Mass media tends to use bold statements about the health threats of vaping without backing them up with any research. That’s just what media usually does – draws the attention for the sake of generating profit. The more shocking the headlines are, the more people will click on them and see the ads.

You deserve to know that all of the scary stories on the threats of vaping are not backed up by thorough studies. Most of the claims are highly theoretical. As for now, there is no unambiguous answer to the question of whether vaping diacetyl is safe or hazardous for human health. Luckily, there is no record of anyone getting popcorn lung disease from vaping.

However, since further research is needed, it is great that every vaper can choose between e-liquids with and without this contradictory element. Still, cognition comes through comparison. While vaping a diacetyl-containing e-liquid, you get 85 times less diacetyl than while smoking a regular tobacco cigarette.

Speaking of the safety of vaping, we should always remember about the context because we are comparing it to smoking. For a smoker, vaping is a far safer alternative for sure. That’s the most important thing you should keep in mind.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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David Brown

Smoker for 20 years, switched to vaping 5 years ago. Never felt better since then. The best decision in my life. Proficient in DIY e-juices and custom coil builds. Vape collection - Wismec Noisy Cricket, SMOK Majesty Luxe, Augvape Druga, Dr. Dabber Aurora, Vaporesso Revenger Favorite e-juices - American Patriots by Naked 100, Tobacconist by Element Absinthe , Cosmic Fog Chill'd Tobacco, Starry Night by Quiet Owl