Assessing electronic cigarette emissions: linking physico-chemical properties to product brand, e-liquid flavoring additives, operational voltage and user puffing patterns

Jiayuan Zhao, Jordan Nelson, Oluwabunmi Dada, Georgios Pyrgiotakis, Ilias G. Kavouras, Philip Demokritou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Users of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are exposed to particles and other gaseous pollutants. However, major knowledge gaps on the physico-chemical properties of such exposures and contradictory data in published literature prohibit health risk assessment. Here, the effects of product brand, type, e-liquid flavoring additives, operational voltage, and user puffing patterns on emissions were systematically assessed using a recently developed, versatile, e-cig exposure generation platform and state-of-the-art analytical methods. Parameters of interest in this systematic evaluation included two brands (A and B), three flavors (tobacco, menthol, and fruit), three types of e-cigs (disposable, pre-filled, and refillable tanks), two puffing protocols (4 and 2 s/puff), and four operational voltages (2.2–5.7 V). Particles were generated at a high number concentration (10 6 –10 7 particles/cm 3 ). The particle size distribution was bi-modal (∼200 nm and 1 µm). Furthermore, organic species (humectants propylene glycol and glycerin, nicotine) that were present in e-liquid and trace metals (potassium and sodium) that were present on e-cig heating coil were also released into the emission. In addition, combustion-related byproducts, such as benzene and toluene, were also detected in the range of 100–38,000 ppbv/puff. Parametric analyzes performed in this study show the importance of e-cig brand, type, flavor additives, user puffing pattern (duration and frequency), and voltage on physico-chemical properties of emissions. This observed influence is indicative of the complexity associated with the toxicological screening of emissions from e-cigs and needs to be taken into consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-88
Number of pages11
JournalInhalation Toxicology
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 28 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Keywords

  • Electronic cigarette
  • exposure assessment
  • inhalation toxicology
  • particulate matter
  • smoking
  • vaping

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