Acetate has always been used with 8 mm and 16 mm formats, as they were originally created for amateur home movie usage, and generally was used for most sub-35 mm formats to minimize risk to the general public.
Kodak began working with acetate "safety film" as early as 1909, and started selling it in 1910 for 22 mm film.
Eastman was the first to manufacture this for public sale, in 1889.
Unfortunately, nitrate also had the drawback that it was extremely flammable (being essentially the same chemically as guncotton) and decomposed after several decades into a no less flammable gas (leaving the film sticky and goo-like) and ultimately into dust.
The US Navy has produced an instructional movie about the safe handling and usage of nitrate films which includes footage of a full reel of nitrate film burning underwater.
The base is so flammable that intentionally igniting the film for test purposes is recommended in quantities no greater than one frame without extensive safety precautions.