Diacetyl Found in E-Cigarettes

Hand with pen drawing the chemical formula of Diacetyl
Diacetyl, a naturally occurring chemical, has been used for decades as a flavoring agent to impart a buttery taste is such products as coffee, flour, cooking oils, and popcorn. Over the past decade, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has investigated numerous flavoring production facilities where diacetyl was used. It was concluded that diacetyl may be causing severe respiratory disorders, such as bronchiolitis obliterans.

It has been discovered that not only is diacetyl present in tobacco cigarette smoke, but it is also found in electronic cigarettes, also known as E-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices designed to deliver nicotine with flavorings and other chemicals to users in vapor form instead of smoke. The metal tubes, which resemble real cigarettes, contain a cartridge filled with a nicotine-laced liquid that is vaporized by a heating element. Smokers inhale the vapor, the same way they would a regular cigarette.

According to an article in the “Environmental Health Perspectives”, there are more than “7,000 e-cigarette flavors currently marketed” and at least “one flavoring chemical was detected in 47 of 51 unique flavors tested. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that 1.78 million children tried e-cigarettes as of 2012, with 160,000 of them reporting that they had not used tobacco cigarettes (CDC 2013). E-cigarettes are not currently regulated; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has the authority to regulate certain tobacco and nicotine-containing products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009) has issued a proposed rule to include e-cigarettes under this Act (FDA 2014). Although the popularity and use of e-cigarettes continues to increase, data are lacking on the exposures and potential human health effects of the use of e-cigarettes.”(http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10185/).

In May 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would “take over regulation of e-cigarettes and prohibit their sale to minors under age 18.” (http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/alternative-nicotine-products-e-cigarettes.aspx)
In addition to the regulation of sales to minors, there are local and state laws that prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free environments. The chart below illustrates the cumulative totals, by year, of laws enacted to prohibit this use.


If you or a loved one was exposed to diacetyl and suffer from bronchiolitis obliterans, contact the Madeksho Law Firm, PLLC at 1-800-432-6048.