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Chemical Constituents in E-Cigarette Liquids and Aerosols

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, EC) form an aerosol from the heating element and liquid-containing cartridge. The heating element aerosolizes the refill solutions (e-liquids) when the power source of e-cigarette is pressed. E-liquids consist of combinations of propylene glycol, glycerine, nicotine and flavouring ingredients. Puffing activates the battery-operated heating element in the atomizer and will produce smoke that is similar to conventional cigarette (CC). This study evaluated the chemical composition of e-liquid and aerosol samples available in Malaysia. We analyzed the volatile organic compounds in e-liquids and the aerosols samples from EC using gas chromatography mass spectrometer. Seventy-two EC e-liquids were analyzed through different flavours from more than 60 brands. Samples consisted of 32 nicotine-free (0 mg) and 40 nicotine-containing refill solutions (3 - 12 mg). Overall, 116 compounds were identified from EC e-liquids. On the other hand, 275 compounds were identified from their resultant aerosol samples. There were 42 compounds found in both e-liquids and aerosols. Seven compounds were only found in e-liquids and 38 compounds were only found in aerosols. Propylene glycol was found in all of the e-liquid and aerosol samples. Glycerin was found in 99 of the e-liquid and 100 of aerosol samples. At least 60 of the EC e-liquids and the resultant aerosol contain piperidine, butanoic acid ethyl ester and nicotine. It was also found that at least 9 out of 35 nicotine free labeled e-liquids contain nicotine. Some of these compounds were known to be detrimental to health and were detected in aerosol although they were not present in e-liquids. While some of the compounds are flavouring ingredients, it is necessary to evaluate its long-term effects on EC users.

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