How To Know If Diacetyl Is In Your E-Juice?

Is there a way to improve your vaping experience? I went from a novice to a pro vaper in a significantly short time, thanks to understanding the ingredients of my vape juice. 

One such ingredient you need to identify is diacetyl which can cause health problems. The easiest way to check for this component is by confirming with the manufacturing company before purchasing to know exactly what you are buying. 

Main Components of E-Juice

Vape juices have four main ingredients: flavoring, nicotine, VG, and PG. Each of these elements affects your vaping experience differently. 

Flavoring Concentrates

Flavoring chemicals come from natural and artificial flavoring. These concentrates aim at replicating specific food, drink, or fruit flavors. Some of the most common options include sweet flavors like banana, cherry, grape, strawberry, orange, or creamy flavors. 

Vape juice companies need to use food-grade components, mainly those approved by the FDA. These concentrates are in baked items, candy, soda, and other processed foods. 

Yet, some e-liquid manufacturers could use diketone family flavoring concentrates, which are harmful to human health when inhaled. Some of the concentrates from this family include diacetyl, acetyl propionyl, and acetoin.


Nicotine is a significantly addictive alkaloid from nightshade plants. Nicotine is used in vape juice to help smokers quit smoking since smoking causes even more health problems than vaping, such as bronchiolitis obliterans. 

However, not all e-juices contain nicotine. This element allows people to slowly step down from 12mg, 6mg, and 3 mg to 0 mg in their vape juice.

Propylene Glycol

PG is an odorless and colorless petroleum derivative, offering a faintly sweet taste. This ingredient helps keep the other elements bonded. Increasing this component implies that you’ll get a better flavor from your e-liquid in the long run.

Vegetable Glycerin

VG is a common additive in e-juices. VG acts as a sweetener, assuring you have an aftertaste. Vape juice manufacturers rely on VG to maintain moisture and homogenize the various vape juice ingredients. 

What is Diacetyl?

As mentioned, diacetyl is a flavoring concentrate used by some e-juice manufacturers. Diacetyl comes from the diketone family, which consists of other concentrates like acetoin. 

This yellow liquid is often used in popcorn to enhance its butter flavoring. You’ll find it in various dairy products and alcoholic drinks as well. 

The FDA has approved diacetyl for human consumption. However, this approval is limited to food flavorings only. As such, you won’t have to worry about the chemical when you eat foods with the substance. 

However, inhaling diacetyl in e-liquid could cause significant health issues, including a disease called popcorn lung or constrictive bronchiolitis. 

E-cigarette users who regularly inhale e-cigarette aerosol particles could suffer from these lung issues. A person vaping could inhale the same dangerous chemicals as tobacco users when they use products that contain diacetyl. 

Diacetyl is not in nicotine, VG, or PG. Instead, you’ll find it in specific flavoring concentrates. In most cases, diacetyl is in custards, cherry, and tobacco flavors. Creamy and dessert flavors may also contain this chemical. So, when looking for a diacetyl-free vape juice, you should avoid these flavors.

Remember, diacetyl is not in all e-liquids. Instead, it is a popular addition to the products manufactured by some brands. So, you should ask for a list of ingredients when purchasing any e-juice to avoid diacetyl exposure and popcorn lung. 

Health Risks Associated With Diacetyl

Various health conditions come from diacetyl inhalation. One of the most significant issues is popcorn lung, a rare disease that makes the lungs stiff and a little scarred and is similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This condition has various symptoms, including breathing difficulties, dry cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, and fatigue. 

Popcorn lung gets its name because researchers from the Centers for Disease Control first observed the disease in popcorn factory workers who worked in a microwave popcorn plant. In this case, the diacetyl additives used in buttery flavors were prevalent in the air in the microwave popcorn factory. The lack of occupational safety standards created diacetyl fumes, leading to severe lung disease. 

Unfortunately for those affected, there is no cure for popcorn lung. However, you can manage it and progressively treat the condition. An affected individual will remain on antibiotics and steroids for some time. However, if the illness is severe, the person may need a lung transplant. Further complications could prove fatal.

Suppose you are lucky to escape the chemicals that cause popcorn lung. In this case, you could end up with other health issues. For instance, fatigue, eye irritation, wheezing, and respiratory problems are common among people exposed to prolonged inhalation of products containing diacetyl.

Although vaping does tend to be easier on the lungs than cigarette smoke, vaping e-liquids, especially those with diacetyl, can cause lung disease just as smoking cigarettes can. Just because vapers don’t get certain conditions, like bronchiolitis obliterans or chronic bronchitis, that tobacco cigarettes cause in people doesn’t mean e-liquids are entirely safe. 

Therefore, you should ensure that you avoid all products with diacetyl by prioritizing manufacturers that offer diacetyl-free e-juice. This manufacturing company must back its claims with independent lab testing. Such verification will help cushion you against unwanted health issues in the long run.

Are Diacetyl Alternatives Any Better?

There are two main alternatives to diacetyl: acetyl propionyl and acetoin. Most manufacturers consider combining diacetyl with these alternatives from time to time too. However, some of these alternatives present are no better than vaping diacetyl.

For instance, continuous use of acetoin could expose you to various respiratory complications. Therefore, you could end up with considerable health complications or even death when you use this item for a long time.

Similarly, inhaling significant amounts of acetyl propionyl causes lung damage. This flavoring concentrate will also result in respiratory tract inflammation, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and possibly death.

For these reasons, it is vital to avoid diacetyl vape juice or any of its substitutes. If you are not sure about the ingredients of specific e-liquids, it would be best to avoid them. Alternatively, you could consider getting some help from an independent laboratory.

Final Thoughts

While diacetyl is harmful when inhaled, it remains an excellent choice in the food production industry. This element ensures a better savory and buttery taste in your food. So, as long as you consume it in food, there will be a minimal health risk.

In conclusion, using diacetyl-free e-juices should be a priority. This move ensures that you avoid various health complications, including popcorn lung.