Sometimes it is difficult to classify flavorings as artificial or “natural”. What can we define as a natural vaping flavoring? Natural vaping flavorings or any other flavoring are essence, essential oils, aromas that are obtained from flowers or animals.
According to the FDA, natural flavoring means:
“the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”.FDA
Any vaping flavorings derived from animals or plants are considered “natural” while other common flavorings such as diacetyl are considered “artificial”. The truth, however, is that all flavors are chemicals, molecules, compounds, and it’s just about how they are obtained and where they are extracted.
What is the Difference Between Artificial and Natural Vaping Flavorings?
We tend to think that natural vaping flavorings are better for you than flavorings obtained from the synthesis of chemicals. However, this is not entirely true. Think, for instance, that there are many potent venoms and poisons that are obtained from natural sources and they are as dangerous as synthetic ones.
All flavors are chemicals no matter if they are obtained from a natural source (animals or plants) or artificially (lab). For example, let’s say we want e-liquids with lavender flavor, then we can obtain linalool from lavender or it can be also synthetically produced in a lab. Both sources are the same compound with no difference in their chemical structure. The same applies to any other vaping flavorings such as cinnamon, orange, etc. Usually, most of e-liquids contain a mixture of different flavorings.
Unfortunately, most of times we don’t know if the vaping flavorings are obtained from natural sources or if they are synthetic.
Some vaping flavorings such as diacetyl are controversial as it has been linked to “popcorn lungs”. According to Medical News Today, popcorn lungs or bronchiolitis obliterans, is “a rare condition that causes airway scarring due to inflammation and eventually lung damage”.
Diacetyl is safe for human consumption and it’s widely used as a flavoring to give a buttery taste to food. Apparently, breathing the fumes of diacetyl is what might cause “popcorn lungs”. Consequently, many vapers prefer to avoid e-liquids containing diacetyl as a vaping flavoring.
Moreover, many e-liquid producers have discontinued the use of diacetyl as a flavoring in their e-liquids. However, the exposure to diacetyl in vaping is about 100 time lower than from smoking.
Are Vaping Flavorings Safe?
For diacetyl or other flavorings to have a negative impact on our health, they would have to represent the highest percentage in the composition of e-liquids. Furthermore, the exposure of workers who have been exposed to diacetyl inhalation is vastly greater than from vaping.
Some natural flavors (like garlic and onion) are known to cause irritation when inhaled. However, most of flavorings have a very low volatility and hence they pose a very low risk to human health. In conclusion, vaping flavorings are food-grade and safe for human consumption. Nonetheless, we discourage you to buy any back-market e-liquids as they could contain dangerous compounds not suitable for human consumption.
Is it Better to vape Natural Flavorings?
If you buy e-liquids in vape stores, then you shouldn’t worry if the vaping flavorings are natural or artificial. However, in general it’s always better to consume natural flavorings. In addition, some natural vaping flavorings (such as tobacco flavor) taste much better if they come from natural flavors as tobacco nuances are very difficult to recreate in a lab.
It depends on your personal preferences. Both natural and artificial flavorings are safe to consume. Nonetheless, some natural vaping flavorings taste better and are richer than artificial ones.
Both natural and artificial flavorings are safe to consume. However, some vapers prefer to vape only natural flavorings. Moreover, many vapers think natural flavorings taste better. In addition, they also perceive them as safer.
In conclusion, it is up to you to decide whether you prefer e-liquids with natural flavorings or e-liquids with artificial ones.