December 18, 2015
1 min read

Flavoring chemicals associated with respiratory disease found in commercially available e-cigarettes

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Diacetyl, a flavoring chemical associated with severe respiratory disease, has been found in more than 75% of e-cigarettes in addition to two other flavoring chemicals, according to an analysis of 51 commercially available e-cigarette types published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

“Our findings confirm the presence of diacetyl and other high priority flavoring chemicals in flavored e-cigarettes,” Joseph G. Allen, BS, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues wrote. “Due to the associations between diacetyl, bronchiolitis obliterans and other severe respiratory diseases among workers inhaling heated vapors containing diacetyl, urgent action is recommended to further evaluate the extent of this new exposure to diacetyl and related flavoring compounds in e-cigarettes.”

Allen and colleagues analyzed e-cigarettes and liquid refills for diacetyl and two other flavoring chemicals, 2,3-pentanedione and acetoin, which included 7 flavors from major brand cigarette companies, 5 flavors from an e-cigarette manufacturer, 24 flavors from e-cigarette distributors as well as 11 liquid e-flavors. Each e-cigarette and liquid refill was analyzed in a sealed chamber, where a device pushed air into the e-cigarette for 8 seconds to gain an adequate air sample, followed by a 15 second to 30 second rest period.

Overall, 47 of 51 samples tested contained at least one flavoring chemical, with diacetyl present in 39 of 51 samples, according to the abstract. The amount of diacetyl measured in each sample ranged from between less than the limit of qualification to 239 µg per e-cigarette, while the amount of 2,3-pentanedione was 64 µg per e-cigarette among 23 samples and acetoin was present in 46 samples with an amount of 529 µg per e-cigarette. – by Jeff Craven

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.