There are several reports circulating about the first-ever death linked to vaping. The details are still vague but one doctor blames propylene glycol, formaldehyde and acrolein in e-liquids. In this post, we look closer at the story and see if you should be worried or not.
What is propylene glycol?
Propylene glycol is a viscous, colourless and odourless organic substance. It is used in e-liquids as a carrier of the flavour and to dilute nicotine so it can be aerosolized in the e-cig.
It’s strange the doctor mentioned propylene glycol as a possible factor. Glycols, in general, are non-irritating, have very low volatility and very low toxicity. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved propylene glycol as being generally safe.
What is formaldehyde?
What is acrolein?
This is another substance you don’t want to inhale. Used in weed killer, among other things, acrolein is toxic and is a strong irritant for the skin, eyes, and nasal passages. Incidentally, it is also found in cigarette smoke and a possible cause of lung cancer.
UK vs US e-liquid regulation and why you should only vape TPD compliant e-liquid
As we read more and more into this story, there seems to be a common thread emerging – that in the US, there is insufficient regulation on the ingredients in e-liquids. This is why potentially damaging chemicals could be possibly find their way into vape juices produced in the US.
E-liquids produced in the UK, however, are under the strict control of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). In the UK, the following substances are NOT permitted as ingredients in e-liquids:
- Any ingredient that poses a risk to human health in heated or unheated form
- Vitamins or other additives that create the impression that a tobacco product has a health benefit or presents reduced health risks
- Caffeine or taurine or other additives and stimulant compounds that are associated with energy and vitality
- Additives having colouring properties for emissions
- Additives that have carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR) properties in unburnt form.
From national standards:
- Substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR categories 1 and 2)
- Substances classified with specific target organ toxicity for the respiratory tract (STOT category 1)
- Respiratory sensitizers
- Vitamins used as food supplements
- Stimulant additives such as caffeine or taurine
- Pentane 2,3 dione
- Diethylene glycol
- Ethylene glycol
- Metals, including cadmium, chromium, iron, lead, mercury and nickel
- Preservatives liable to release formaldehyde.
As can be clearly seen, acrolein and formaldehyde are both prohibited and, in fact, “Any ingredient that poses a risk to human health in heated or unheated form” is prohibited.
So, if you want to put your mind at ease, always choose TPD compliant e-liquids when you vape. All e-liquids by Vapoholic are TPD compliant and we are registered with Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) so you can be sure you are only vaping the highest quality and purest vape juices.
In the meantime, we’ll keep a close eye on this unfolding story and keep you informed as always.
If you are a smoker and are looking to quit with the aid of vaping but are unsure where to start, check out our beginner’s guides here.
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