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Use of the e-liquid flavourings diacetyl and acetyl propionyl has raised concerns that they might cause respiratory diseases amongst vapers. Product surveys show that these compounds, plus a less toxic alternative, acetoin, are widely used in e-liquids.

We have investigated the chemistry of acetoin, acetyl propionyl and diacetyl in e-liquids. They are reactive, with concentrations falling substantially over time. Acetyl propionyl is the most reactive, diacetyl less so, and acetoin significantly more stable. [...]