Do E-Cigarettes Really Contain Antifreeze?

Ever since the FDA released a press statement saying their tests revealed traces of diethylene glycol in e-cigarette liquid, there’s been a rumor going around about e-cigs containing dangerous antifreeze ingredients. Is there any truth to that, and should you be worried? Well, yes, and no…

Let’s start at the beginning. In 2009, the American Food and Drug Administration tested just 18 e-liquid cartridges from 2  electronic cigarette companies, and was quick to report that one sample contained diethylene glycol, a chemical used in industrial antifreeze that is toxic to humans. What they forgot to mention was that the levels found in the examined cartridge were nearly untraceable (around 1%), and certainly nowhere near the danger level. Still, diethylene glycol is NOT an e-liquid ingredient, so it shouldn’t have been found at all. Because the dangerous substance was found in one of the 18 samples, and more recent tests failed to detect it in any other e-liquids, some experts concluded it might have been contaminated in some other way. You can be sure no reputable e-liquid vendor is going to sell toxic products. They do strict tests and have quality control in place to ensure only the purest of ingredients go into their e-cigarette juices. Today, four years after the FDA’s report, there have been no cases of diethylene glycol poisonings worldwide, so I think it’s fair to say it’s not a problem worth worrying about.

But e-liquid does usually contain an ingredient that’s also associated with antifreeze – propylene glycol. PG is sometimes used as an ingredient for antifreeze, but as an additive to make it less dangerous if accidentally swallowed. Propylene glycol does have a lower freezing point than water, but that doesn’t necessarily make it dangerous. In fact, PG is recognized as safe for human consumption by the FDA, and can be found in a variety of food additives and colorants, pharmaceutical inhalers or toothpaste. Also, if you own an RV and use it during the winter, you’ll be surprised to know that the water holding tank has propylene glycol in it to keep it from freezing. So yes, technically speaking, e-cigarettes can contain antifreeze, but not the dangerous industrial kind. Propylene glycol is safe, non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Sadly, that hasn’t stopped anti-e-cigarette groups from spreading misinformation and causing panic among the general public. There are articles out there that actually list diethylene glycol as an e-liquid ingredient, which is just a big lie. The fact is electronic cigarettes are gaining in popularity and threaten to cut the profits of both the tobacco and pharmaceutical industry. You best believe they aren’t sitting around doing nothing as their revenues decrease. All these people making negative claims about e-cigarettes without offering hard facts aren’t really worried about your health, they have their own agenda. So please, don’t give into your fear, do some research and try to think for yourself.

Photo: Wikimdia Commons

27 Comments/Reviews

  • Andrew says:
    5 stars

    Wonderful article, thank you so much. I for a minute was following the sheep and believing the “antifreeze” noise and halted buying any e-cigars for a whole but this has brought to light the truth and I now realize that the FDA probably Is connected with the tobacco and pharmaceutical companies and probably are seeing the rapid popularity of these great alternative smoking devices. Thanks again for this post, really helpful!

  • Angela byam says:

    I have been smoking e cig for two years it has almost stopped my smoking real smoking completely in fact I prefer it to real cigarettes it’s also a bonus to be able to enjoy in most bars and cafe s this when I usually enjoy a smoke so I hope this doesn’t change as what harm are we doing to anyone. If the reason is because it’s becoming cool for youngsters then an age restriction should be in place I know when I buy mine the youngster s were been I d so there must be a misuse policy in place.

    • Cheryl Haag Phelan says:
      5 stars

      I also have smoked my ecig and been cigarette free for over 2 yrs since Aug. 2012. Just like the real thing, but…
      No stinky smoke smell on your clothes or in your mouth. Pleasant taste, lung filling vapor, exhale smoke-like vapor.
      Love it‼️

  • mobs says:

    Using the FDA as a source of credibility that PG is safe for human consumption is just ridiculous. The United States government is controlled by corporate lobbyist and money they bribe congress with. Just look at the stuff they put in our food compared to what they put in the same product in Europe and you’ll see the FDA is never to be trusted period.

    • Chris says:

      Mobs, why aren’t we the fountain of absolute truth. If propylene glycol (PG) is so harmful why do they use it in nebulizers for breathing treatments, rescue inhalers and fog machines for concerts? The by-product of vaporized PG is pure water! Is that deadly too??? If so why don’t you stop drinking it for a couple of weeks and see how much better you feel without it. After all, the FDA highly recommends H2O as well…

      • julie says:

        If any one would ever research themselves from the food or fda administration before they go off on a tangent trying to start problems for honest people trying to stop smoking, they would feel so stupid and probably a little paranoid and should stick to what they know and not what they here. E Cigs have made me quit after 25yrs and I love that it’s safe for my child and family all around me. Be prepard.. they are already trying to Ban them from being used in restaraunts, and other places, just out of ignorance and seeking attention that will only prove them wrong but not one you would want to ask advice from

        • julie says:

          sorry, i failed to mention that you people that are so Concerned for My health and Your’s, should not compare the e cig to other brands and inform the world that their studys may vary well prove that not only are they bored and need attention but each company that claims to be perfect, may Not be, but, don’t focus on One brand and condemn it before condemning the rest as a whole

    • edawg781 says:

      Mobs, Im guessing you’re a truther aren’t you? NWO Illuminati…tehe you’re so silly mobs

  • Jen Ry says:

    I quit smoking analogs in a matter of days after buying my first Inferno. Hubby quit in 1 day, after smoking for 25yrs. I’m sure someone will find something in eCigs that probably isn’t good. But I’ve never felt better-meaning no lung butter, chest colds. Or sick all the time, coughing etc. Regular smokes cost a fortune, pollute your lungs, not to mention makes you reek like an ash tray! Finally able to paint my entire house because we no longer have tobacco coming out of every pore!
    FYI-when you do decide to take a gander @ what all your walls, curtains, closets, white shirts look like after stopping smoking… Watch out because you’ll probably have a heart attack:)

    • mick says:

      Y’know people are really stupid sometime… the fact is even after reading the article which is base common sense and should even need to be said some folks still can’t simply ask the question “if this stuff really was toxic…then there would be people sick now yeah?” and not finding one person sick would be a big clue you were being bullshitted. Yet seemingly many folks literally haven’t even got that much base intelligence…

      That sort of annoy me… the reason it annoys me is because during my lifetime I’m expected to make up the shortfall of other peoples stupidity and help carry society with these unintelligent baboons wondering about walking into walls or whatever. Like that mobs guy up there…seriously… he state will have to pay for his old age…and he’ll never hold down any form of productive employment because he can’t even reason a simple question…is X toxic…to which the answer is ‘show me the sick folks and I’ll tell you’… not even capable of that… man why have dumb mutts like that got the same rights in society as me? would someone please explain that to me…

  • glenda says:

    i just recently purchased an Evod BCC vaporizer due to health issues & started getting yelled at by my sister who said it was all over the news that antifreeze was in the e-ciggs. i am so happy to hear that its all bs.. thatnk you for this article

    • A kid that does vape occasionally says:

      You eat and breathe terrible chemicals way worse than antifreeze. These anti-vape people are just freaking out becuz smoking is an issue in this country and around the world. Put it this way. If breathing was “invented” or discovered, and they were studying the chemicals in it, the discussion it would bring to the news would be almost catastrophic.

  • Darlene says:
    5 stars

    Thank you for a very informative article. Correct information is so important. I’m appalled at the misinformation that is out there. The day I received my starter kit in the mail was the last day I smoked an analog cigarette. I actually prefer the -e-cigs. It is cleaner and you have so much control over the level of taste, not to mention the amazing varieties of flavors. I will keep up to date on any new studies that are valid.

  • Deb says:

    I love the e cig and it is the only thing that kept me from smoking cigs. over 30 yrs. But I feel I chain vape, and that is why I wonder how much is too much on the liquids in it made in China? I don’t want to put it down. I go thru a few bottles of liquid a week.

  • Sovereign Entity says:

    Some Americans are so naive. I dare you think that our government would allow a product on the market that would harm us.Can anyone say Agent Orange, Round-up and what was the other bhot?

  • Sovereign Entity says:

    And not to mention vranks is probally paid by a vape company.

  • ha says:

    Lmao well you can’t trust none of those things. Every thing has something in it that can kill you including the food you eat cancer didn’t start until we as humans started fooling with the food we eat because scientist’s start altering our food so we are born to die bottom line

    • Joejohnbovi says:

      Two doors, one says ’1500 harmful chemicals’ and the other says ‘unknown if there are any dangers’. Which do you walk through?

    • Geo says:
      5 stars

      Cancer was always there. It was just that we rarely got old enough to get it. (average age of death used to 40-50 years old 100 years ago.) Besides that, medicine had not advanced enough to know what cancer was.

  • JD says:
    5 stars

    Here is over 2000 food items just on walmart.com with the same chemical.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Awalmart.com+Ingredients+%22Propylene+Glycol%22&rlz=1C1OPRB_enUS558US558&oq=site%3Awalmart.com+Ingredients+%22Propylene+Glycol%22&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i58.2921j0j8&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8#q=site:walmart.com+Ingredients+%22Propylene+Glycol%22+%22Nutrition+Facts%22+-%22SEO+Page+title+here%22&tbs=li:1

  • Stephanie says:

    ha, funny. Keep disillusioning yourself. I have a friend that vapes and his juice as you guys call it, contains Propylene glycol as the first ingredient! That is ANTIFREEZE!!!! And everyone knows that the first ingredient listed is the largest amount in the product. I quit smoking cold turkey over 4 years ago, after chain smoking for 20 years. Glad I quit before these things came out, I don’t know what’s worse….smoking cigarettes,or smoking antifreeze. It’s your lungs I guess…….

  • Stephanie says:

    Yep, your right JD, Walmart, and every other store in this country, sells food with antifreeze in it. Does that make it right!?!?!? I READ labels and make informed choices as to what goes in my body. I grow my own food, I make breads from scratch and I avoid food with chemicals in it. The reason these companies put these horrible ingredients in their products is because all you consumers out there blindly grab things off the shelves without a glance as to what you are putting in your body. JD, I see your comment as a weak statement and defense to using E-cigs. Grow a brain and read the labels before you put more poison in your body.

  • randy clark says:

    im a 38yr smoker i was able to give up the smoke and vapor only they get my praise vapor

  • customer service rep says:

    I work for an organic e-cig company. What they forget to mention is when using all organic ingredients you need to store in a cool dark place to prevent bacteria from growing in about a year. You will notice some companies (1 highly rated company impeticular) will start putting an expiration date on their labels. Please be careful with anything you put in your lungs.

  • budd says:

    I’m a non smoker who wanted to try an e-cig just out of curiosity. I find them to be enjoyable ,a little nicotine buzz to relax. I am also a runner , and after a few weeks of using the e-cig, it hasnt affected my running AT ALL. I never cough ; nothing like what a real cigarette would do . I would still like hard evidence that theyre completely safe, but there is no doubt that real cigarettes are much much worse for you .

  • Joe Consolini says:

    It is irresponsible for you to make the claim that PG is safe and non toxic. The FDA only approved PG for limited low dose use up to 7 days for products such as Miralax.
    Since 2011 there has been many reports of neurological side effects due to longer term use than 7 days such as paranoia, irritability, etc. The fact that e-cigarette users use these devices almost nonstop every day instead of smoking an actual cigarette every hour or two.
    The likelyhood of taking in toxic levels of PG is actually very high when they can use them indoors any time and are temporarily socially accepted for use in public places.

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