What are you ACTUALLY vaping?

When you fill up your tank, power your vape on and take a vape, what are you actually inhaling?

You may have heard the words diacetyl, formaldehyde and even de-icer come up when the media has reported on what's in your vape pen. But are these words true? What do you actually vape?

I'll address the most common false claims here:

Diacetyl - Whilst not completely false, the basis of the claims are. It was claimed that some E-Liquid contained diacetyl which reportedly causes a lung condition known as "popcorn lung". Popcorn lung was contracted by some popcorn factory workers some decades ago that were working with diacetyl daily. Due to the close relationship the workers had with diacetyl it was decided that it must have caused it. There has been no scientific proof that it does cause the condition, only educated guesses. 

So why was it put in E-Liquid? Well, Diacetyl is responsible for giving some desert flavours an authentic "buttery" taste, so it was used in these liquids. Now, it sounds like the vaping industry made a mistake here right? Wrong. Each traditional cigarette contains 115x more diacetyl than any E-Liquid ever has, yet no one has contracted popcorn lung from smoking. As soon as manufacturers got wind of the diacetyl scare, they removed any from all liquids (several years ago) despite there never being an issue. So to sum up diacetyl and popcorn lung. Yes it was in a select few E-Liquids, No it hasn't been linked to popcorn lung and No it's not in any E-Liquid now.


Formaldehyde & other aldehydes - So aldehydes are carcinogenic substances that are formed during combustion. COMBUSTION, something that a vape device DOES NOT do. The media reported that high levels of aldehydes were found during the lab testing of a vape. 

The issue with these tests were:

  1. The testing machine used is the same as the machine used to test cigarettes
  2. The machine took several minute draws on the vape causing it to burn the cotton dry (something that humans CANNOT do)
  3. The tests used a low voltage tank, but used high voltage to heat it up
  4. The tests were conducted by pharmaceutical company backed labs, not independent labs.

Due to the way these tests were conducted, it is clear that they were made to display results that at first appear to show vaping as bad. But when you look into the way they done the tests, it is clear that as a human, it would be impossible to create these chemicals during vaping.

So in short, Can aldehydes be formed and inhaled when vaping? No, unless you burn your coil dry and somehow manage to keep vaping it.

De-Icer - This one is by far the most misleading of them all! Many of us know that de-icer is extremely deadly if ingested. So why aren't we all in the ground now? 

It's because Propylene Glycol (a main ingredient in E-Liquid) was confused by the media as diethylene glycol (an ingredient in antifreeze) which is poisonous. They are completely different substances. Propylene glycol can however be used as an ingredient in antifreeze, the Non-toxic version. Just because something can be used in something, it doesn't make it bad. Water is used in bleach, does that mean i shouldn't drink water or it is any less safe?

So what is in your E-Liquid?

Vegetable glycerin makes up for the majority of all E-Liquids. It is used in a variety of applications and is usually derived from soy, palm or coconut plants.

Propylene glycol is a thin, colourless and odorless liquid that makes up for alot of the E-Liquid we vape. Although used in smaller quantities than VG it is a main component and recognised as food safe.

Flavouring, flavours used are food grade flavourings suspended in propylene glycol. These flavours are blended by mixologists to create their best, tastiest flavours we then love to vape!

Nicotine, Nicotine is generally extracted from the tobacco plant, however i have known some sources to be extracted from tomato plants. Nicotine by itself is thought to be as addictive and as harmful as caffeine. 

So that's what you vape! A mixture of vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, flavours and nicotine. Not all of the rubbish the media want you to believe!

Image: https://expertvaping.com/