The news over the weekend that Diacetyl has been found in some e liquid is not good. The media has pounced on this with absolute glee coming so soon after the announcement from the WHO and their take on e cigs, and understandably many vapers will be feeling worried.
For those of you that have not read the papers or been on Twitter over the weekend, a TV programme called Inside Out has investigated e-cigarettes with part of that investigation being the purchase of 4 bottles of e liquid; which they then had tested.
3 were fine and safe to vape.
1 contained Diacetyl.
So, what does this mean and just how afraid should we be?
Diacetyl is a chemical used in the food industry to give a buttery flavour. It’s absolutely fine and dandy to eat, but to inhale it is another question.
Diacetyl arises naturally as a by-product of fermentation and cultured cream, cultured butter and cultured buttermilk owe their distinct flavour in part to Diacetyl.
Diacetyl though has been associated with a lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. This is a rare and serious lung condition, with some sufferers needing a lung transplant. It is often referred to as ‘popcorn lung disease’ as it was discovered after some popcorn factory workers that had been inhaling Diacetyl over a long period presented with it.
Diacetyl is hazardous if heated and inhaled over a long period.
So what else do we know about this, especially in relation to electronic cigarettes?
Dr Farsalinos has done some research (link at the bottom) specifically looking for Diacetyl in e-liquid, and he presented his findings at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw earlier this year.
Taking 159 refill e-liquids and concentrate flavourings from 36 manufacturers spread across 6 European countries, he wanted to see if Diacetyl was delivered to the vaper. If it was, he wanted to then measure the average daily exposure to Diacetyl, as compared with the respective NIOSH defined safety limits. For this research Dr Farsalinos assumed an average consumption of 3mls of e liquid per day per user.
The results were worrying, with 74.2% of the sweet e-liquids containing some levels of Diacetyl.
But this is where we need get our perspective goggles on and remove much of the fear, but admittedly not all of the concern.
Dr Farsalinos concludes – “ Diacetyl was found in a large proportion of sweet flavoured e liquid, at levels higher than the strictest safety limits, but significantly lower compared to smoking.”
Between 10 to 100 times lower than smoking.
Now this doesn’t make e cigs perfect, and it doesn’t make it all OK; it does though put the Diacetyl in perspective, as e cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes.
But there is still more that can be done to eradicate Diacetyl altogether.
This is an avoidable risk.
All the companies that tested positive for Diacetyl were contacted, all of them can (and should have) put in place methods to prevent this from ever occurring again, and simple batch testing with the removal of certain ingredients will eliminate this problem.
This proves yet again why it is vital to buy your e liquids from a reputable e-liquid manufacturer that does due diligence.
TECC, via TW has the majority of its e-liquid manufactured in house, in the UK and USA to ensure that we provide the best e-liquid we can. Managing the risk of Daicetyl is about simple control of ingredients. We manage our concentrate specifications such that we define and manage the range of ingredients and related constituents in all our flavourings. There are a number of flavours that we will not stock as we are unable to develop these flavours whilst maintaining acceptable composition. We are confident our fluids do not contain Diacetyl, if ever we became aware of any fluid containing Diacetyl at any levels that could cause any harm these fluids would be removed from sale immediately and the product recalled. As a statement of our commitment, all TECC concentrates which are used within our fluid production will be sent for immediate independent analysis to provide an absolute datum for our customers to gain the assurance of safety they should expect from our company.
The link to Dr Farsalinos’ study: http://gfn.net.co/downloads/2014/posters/122%20Farsalinos%20%20-%20DA_AP.pdf
Having just read what I found to be a well written and amusing blog post about vaping, it made me stop and pause for thought….
Does my vaping smell offensive?
As a now ex smoker, I do revel in the delights of fragrant aromas and my re energised taste buds are having a pretty good time too, but do others appreciate this? Do others appreciate my clouds of strawberry cream?
Now smoking, that’s a no brainer. To a non-smoker and a newly (probably evangelised) ex smoker the smell of cigarette smoke stinks – plain and simple. We won’t go into the amateur dramatics that cigarettes smoke can provoke, all that arm waving and furious wafting, we’ll leave that for another day, but there’s not many non smokers that genuinely enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke.
Is it the same for non-vapers and vapour?
The lady who wrote the amusing blog certainly feels this way. She wrote:
“In the case of restaurants and cafes, you are interfering with the food. Flavour is a combination of taste and smell, and with the smell of pina colada air freshener floating under my nose; I am having a hard time enjoying my coffee. Your bubble gum vapor is not welcome when I’m eating a grilled cheese. And — I may be overstepping my bounds here — but I really wish you wouldn’t exhale bacon flavored vapor around my beer. We’ve already established that bacon-flavored beer is pretty terrible. I know you can still smoke in a lot of bars, but I don’t go to those bars. Besides, that’s what the patio is for.”
I have been guilty of not giving much thought to this – I’ve been too busy enjoying my flavoured e liquids to care too much about the oral or olfactory experiences of those around me. But because I think it’s nice, that doesn’t mean others will find it pleasant.
Said blogger was all for vaping, congratulating vapers that had switched, but I think, on reflection, (while vaping coffee mocha and sipping my latte), that perhaps she may have a point?
If you are vaping in an enclosed space, and someone is giving you ‘that’ look that tells you instantly they are not pleased, perhaps you/we could, as the fab vapers that we are, politely ask them if the vapour is bothering them? And if so, maybe refrain until they have gone?
Link to blog mentioned: http://www.xojane.com/healthy/an-open-letter-to-the-person-smoking-their-e-cigarette-indoors
First generation e cigarettes resemble cigarettes in look and size and are commonly referred to as ‘cigalikes’.
These types of e cigs are the ones found in most supermarkets, garages and small newsagents, yet it is these very cigalikes that has the Public Health people concerned.
Why? Because they believe that due to the similarity to tobacco cigarettes, cigalikes may re-normalise smoking.
At time of writing this post, please note there is no evidence that re-normalising of smoking is taking place due to e cigarettes and vaping, but Public Health see this ‘maybe’ as a very real concern.
Dr Lynne Dawkins of the University of East London has looked into this very issue and undertaken a few small research studies. Asking the questions – how important is the cigarette like appearance for a smoker transitioning to e cigarettes, and – is the visual appearance irrelevant as long as there is effective nicotine delivery? Dr Dawkins set out to find the answers.
Looking at the data, nicotine is a critical component of smoking, but then so are the sensory motor factors, i.e. the look and feel of the cigarette, because many smokers enjoy the experience of smoking.
Dr Dawkins study looked at 100 smokers with little to no experience of e cigs, and asked them to choose between a cigalike and a refillable eGo device –a second generation device. 50% chose the cigalike purely because it resembled cigarettes, thus confirming that looks are important.
But what about when used?
To address this question, Dr Dawkins randomly assigned 63 abstinent smokers a cigalikes e cig, only one type looked like a cigarette; the other resembled a cigarette but had a red battery casing. Both contained the same flavour and nicotine strength e liquid.
The reduction in urge to smoke and withdrawal symptoms was significantly greater for those in the white cigalikes group than for those in the red.
Again, concluding that looks are important, at least for short-term use in the laboratory.
So how does this equate to real life?
Cigalikes it seems are an important part of many vapers journey, despite the nicotine not being as effectively delivered as the 2nd and 3rd generation devices. It seems that once people get used to the idea of vaping, then they move onto larger and more complicated devices.
It is the switching of the habit that can be hard – (anyone that has tried to change an ingrained habit will know this).
Therefore if the cigalikes resembles a cigarette, this could mean that many more smokers will be more comfortable making the switch. People see themselves as smokers, and only once they see themselves as vapers, can they then make the further switch from cigalikes to 2nd and 3rd generation devices.
But as with all things e cigarette, more research into this is welcome, as some in Public Health say that the cigalikes can actually keep people smoking and sustain what is called dual use – where people both smoke and vape.
Are we being lied to about nicotine?
Nicotine we are told is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. It is apparently worse than cocaine. But John Gaunt has written a very interesting blog post on his blog ‘ The “Lone Wolf” Graphic Arts Technologist’, that is peppered with references that point to, or indicate that nicotine may not be as addictive as we are told.
How many of you, like him, sometimes forget to vape? Or you can go for days without vaping and have no withdrawal symptoms at all?
John’s interest was piqued in this topic when precisely this happened to him. He forgot to vape and that got him thinking. He did a bit of digging and found several studies and comments by scientists investigating the addictiveness of nicotine.
For example Peter Killeen, emeritus professor of psychology, has said this: “Studies have shown that none of the nicotine replacement therapies — chewing gum, inhalers, patches — none of those are addictive,” he said. “Nicotine is not addictive. So what’s going on?”
A few of the clinical trials referenced by John were done on animals, not humans, but as with many laboratory test, the poor animals get it first. However, what two of the studies showed was that the animals were only really interested in self administering nicotine if it was mixed in with other chemicals.
The scientist from these two studies that were done in 2005 and 2009 stated, according to John – “ it’s almost impossible to get laboratory animals hooked on pure nicotine.”
John then goes on to list a further three studies re the non-addictiveness of nicotine, where one researcher states, “The conclusions were that non-nicotinic components have a role in tobacco dependence and that some tobacco products could have higher abuse liability, irrespective of nicotine levels.”
But it is John’s closing quote that nails it for me. John lets the FDA score an own goal with this one, where they mirror the statement of Peter Killeen, admitting, “although any nicotine-containing product is potentially addictive, decades of research and use have shown that NRT products sold OTC do not appear to have significant potential for abuse or dependence.”
And here is another that I have found, this book was published in 2002 – “A critique of nicotine addiction by Hanen Frenk PhD and Reuven Dar, PhD.”
In their conclusion they write:
“This book reviewed and evaluated the evidence for the Surgeon General’s influential declaration 665 (p. 9) that “ Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addicting, ” that “ Nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction, ” and that “ The pharmacologic and behavioral processes that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine. ” Although this assertion has been almost universally adopted by the scientific community, government agencies, the media and the public, we found that it is not sustained by empirical evidence. Instead, our analysis of the research to date indicates that if nicotine contributes to the persistence of smoking, it is not due to its purportedly gratifying psychoactive properties but rather to its contribution to the “taste” of inhaled smoke and perhaps to placebo effects and acquired (secondary) reinforcing properties in experienced smokers. Thus, nicotine’s role in maintaining the smoking habit bears no similarity to the role played by genuinely addictive drugs such as heroin, barbiturates, alcohol or other drugs to which nicotine is routinely compared.
Read John’s full post here, copy and paste the link. http://lwgat.blogspot.fr/2014/05/nicotine-not-addictive.html
Every body has a slightly different number of taste buds in their mouth, and some people have more sensitive taste than others. This individuality of taste will be one of the reasons why some flavours taste different to other people, and why you can get two completely different reviews about the same juice.
But when it comes to e liquid, there’s an added factor that depends upon what you eat.
This was discovered with a Gold Standard flavour.
One vaper posted that he loved Black Magic, that it was bob on, exactly as described – “ a black magical swirl of rich coffee, superior tobacco and dark dark chocolate.’
However, on the same thread another posted the complete opposite – they found it light and floral with sharp sweet notes, no hint of chocolate or coffee!
And this is the same flavour!
But it goes on….
Yet another could taste the tobacco and coffee, but not the chocolate. So is this simply a case of taste buds being different? Well no, not all of it. It’s also to do with what you eat and drink.
What was going on with the guys that couldn’t taste the coffee?
They were drinking buckets of the stuff. They stopped coffee for a few days and switched to tea, and lo and behold, they could taste the coffee flavour. And then bizarrely adding more or less sugar to their tea made a difference to the chocolate flavour!(?)
Another forum member posted that they adored liquorice and ate a fair amount, so were very excited when their GS liquorice fell through the letter box – the result – YUK! Nothing like liquorice they said. Why? Because they eat it all the time and their taste buds had adjusted.
So, next time you check out a flavour review and fancy buying a new flavour – just have a double think about what you eat and drink, and how it may or may not interfere with the taste of your vape.