What are Diketones? Where are they used? Should we be scared? Why all the questions? Stay tuned and I’ll school you on these tasty little chemicals…
Diketones is the name for a group of chemicals that are considered unsafe to vape by the EUs TPD legislation. A diketone by its scientific definition is a molecule containing two ketone groups but we aren’t going to go balls deep science wise, because it saves me pretending that I know what I’m talking about. Let’s just keep this about the vape.
The 3 main Diketones we are concerned with are:
The most famous of the diketones. Used to add a buttery note in custard flavours but also naturally occurring in certain flavourings. Also found in much of the food we eat from popcorn to sweets and cakes. Contrary to belief, it’s not actually found in that many flavour concentrates.
It is associated with the serious lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans (labelled popcorn lung by the media) because, as the legend goes, some workers in a popcorn factory were exposed to extremely high levels of diacetyl vapour and a couple of them got the lung disease. In e-liquid, we are only talking about trace amounts of diacetyl. In fact, several hundred times less than in traditional cigarettes and I don’t think there have been any recorded cases of popcorn lung from smoking cigarettes. It begs the question: Why it’s allowed to be smoked but not vaped?
Should it be avoided? I suppose you can look at this one of two ways:
- If it can be avoided easily, we should probably avoid it. There’s no point inhaling nasties if we don’t need to.
- It’s incredibly unlikely that a vaper will ever contract popcorn lung from e-liquid, even if they vaped custard flavours continuously for years, if a smoker wont contract it at much higher levels, logically, neither will a vaper.
Common flavourings that contain diacetyl:
Capella Vanilla Custard V1
Flavour Art Custard Premium
Flavorah Berry Blend
Flavour art Whipped Cream
Flavorah Vanilla Custard
Acetyl Propionyl and Acetoin
Considered slightly safer than diacetyl but used much more commonly over a wider range of flavours. They can also contain or convert into diacetyl under heat, which complicates matters significantly.
Common flavourings that contain Acetyl Propionyl and/or Acetoin:
Flavour west Sweet Cream
Flavour West Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
TFA Vanilla Custard
TFA Bavarian Cream
Capella New York Cheesecake
TFA Vanilla Cupcake
Capella Cake batter
The list of flavours that contain Acetyl Propionyl or Acetoin is actually massive. Soooo many commonly used flavourings. I think a lot of flavour companies are committed to removing these ingredients from their line up for safer vaping for the future. However, it’s important to realise that most of these companies sell food flavourings, not e-liquid flavourings, and these ingredients are fine for ingestion but (supposedly) not for inhaling.
To summarise, we should probably avoid these flavourings if possible and when an e-liquid contains diketones it should be labelled as such, to allow the public to make up their own mind – but we are not there yet as an industry. The people legislating don’t know a thing about vaping and unfortunately a lot of the people in the industry are only interested in money. A warning on a bottle may result in a few less sales and that’s the bottom line.
I’m personally happy to vape these flavourings if I can’t find a suitable substitute, but I feel like I’m properly informed and can make that decision logically based on my own research. A lot of people rely on the media to inform them of this kind of thing, which is a factor that plagues the vaping industry, because scare stories sell papers regardless of how valid they are.
Vaping is the solution to the problem of smoking. Do your own research and be a part of the solution and not a contributing factor to the problem. Sharing tabloid nonsense about vaping on Facebook and other social media outlets merely compounds the problem as the articles (lies) spread like wild fire.