Are Food Flavours Safe to Vape?
We have found that we are getting an increasing number of people contacting us to ask whether the Beau Products food flavours that we sell are safe to vape.
Many companies claim that their flavours are safe for e-cigarettes because they are approved for food use or GRAS registered (generally recognised as safe) by FEMA (the flavour extracts manufacturers association). However those recognised safety checks are only for ingested foods and they have not been tested for inhalation. The problem is that there are different factors when directly inhaling the fumes from a heated element which can lead to changes that you do not find in digestion. Additionally vaping itself has not been passed for safety so it is misleading and potentially dangerous to state that food flavours are safe to vape.
That being said many people are using flavours in their e-cigarettes and many people are finding that Beau products are good as they are produced by a reputable manufacturer producing pure and concentrated flavours. We do also sell to a few of the well known vape companies who use Beau in their prepared flavour mixes so they obviously consider they are of a safe standard.
Whilst there is no such thing as a registered safe flavour there are things that you can do to make sure that you stay as safe as possible and more research is ongoing with the increased popularity of vaping. There are also flavours which are definitely NOT safe to vape and these should certainly be avoided.
What Flavours have been found to be unsafe for vaping?
The worst culprit is the buttery flavours and these are generally known to be totally unsafe. The additive DIACETYL is known to cause bronchiolitis or ‘popcorn lung’ when inhaled. This is an untreatable and potentially fatal lung condition first identified in workers in a butter popcorn factory and beacause of this Diacetyl is being phased out of use. Unfortunately the flavours that are being used to replace it are proving to be equally unsafe. ACETOIN breaks down to Diacetyl under certain conditions particularly where heat is used, and ACETYL PROPIONYL has been shown to have similar risks as Diacetyl based on recent studies with rats so it is best to totally avoid flavours containing these buttery additives.
COUMARIN, derived from Cassia bark, a cheap cinnamon flavour, used in the tobacco industry but now banned in food flavours should also be looked out for and avoided due to the toxic effect on kidneys and the liver. VANILLIN used to flavour some cheap vanilla flavours is also derived from Cassia bark and should also be avoided although the higher quality ‘Madagascan Vanilla, which is derived from Vanilla Pods does not have the same effect.
OIL BASED FLAVOURS although used by some vapers are generally believed to cause problems and most of the forums advise against using these to inhale.
FOOD COLOURS added to some flavours should also be avoided.
ACETIC ACID can also be irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract so should be taken with great caution.
How to make your vaping as safe as possible
Life carries risks every day from crossing the road to simply making a cup of tea at home there are risks involved and you should ask whether the activity is worth the risk. Many people consider vaping to be worth the risk especially when trying to give up cigarettes but you should try to minimise those risks as much as possible.
Firstly make sure that you invest in a good quality e-cigarette. There have been studies that have found that some of the cheaper brands have elements that can break down and release metallic compounds into your lungs. It is best to get one where the element is separated from the liquid. Some of the pipes with refillable chambers made of poor quality plastic have also been shown to break over time when triacetin is used due to the fact that triacetin will leach the plasticisers from some plastics making them brittle.
The general opinion in the research papers is that vaping is a lot safer than smoking conventional cigarettes and so if they are being used as a replacement to aid in giving up smoking then they have been shown to be much more effective than other nicotine replacement therapies like gum and patches. It should however be remembered that nicotine levels in some e-liquids can be very high and if accidentally ingested can cause dire consequences and could even be fatal so they should always be kept safe from children and animals.
Obviously the purer you keep your e-juice the better as there are less additives to cause problems however if you do want to use flavoured juices there are advantages with mixing your own using flavours from a reputable manufacturer like Beau. By doing this you can add as little or as much as you feel is safe and you are sure what additives have actually been added by checking the ingredients listed on the bottle.
The general advice on the forums when you are using flavours is to try with caution and should you experience any adverse reactions such as nose or throat irritation or coughing you should not use that flavour but try something different. The food flavours and additives listed above have been found to be UNSAFE and it would be wise to totally avoid them when flavouring your e-juice.
Some people are making their own infusions however this is generally a much more risky business. You are a lot safer using food grade flavours from a reputable manufacturer as organic compounds contain many impurities which are removed during the manufacturing process but which may be present in home infusions.
If you are going to vape try to keep your e-juice as pure as possible. If you want to flavour the juice use food flavours which are concentrated and from a reputable manufacturer. By adding your own flavours you have more control over what is being added since at present there are no regulations stating that e-juice mixers have to disclose the additives unlike with food. Check on the forums to keep updated with the latest research to find if any flavours have had harmful side effects and finally if someone tells you that their flavours are safe to vape I would be very cautious about anything else they are telling you as they cannot possibly state that at this time and the FDA has stated that this is misleading and unsafe advice. Beau Products produce pure and high quality food flavours and with the exception of the flavours listed above are as safe and as good if not better than other products on the market but at the end of the day it is a choice that you need to make after taking on board all available information.
For more information and details of scientific sources used you can check out Vaping with Food Flavours as well as the following:
Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping: A New Challenge in Clinical Medicine and Public Health. A Literature Review
FDA papers about e-cigarettes
Medical Press Article