Selected Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents Levels in Commercial e-Cigarettes


Authored by  M Belushkin, D Tafin Djoko, M Esposito, A Korneliou, C Jeannet, M Lazzerini, G Jaccard

Published in Chemical Research in Toxicology    

Abstract

A broad range of commercially available electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) systems were tested for levels of emissions of harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHC), with a particular focus on the carbonyls: acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde. The tobacco-specific nitrosamines N′-nitrosonornicotine and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-bipyridyl)-1-butanone; the elements arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and nickel; benzene; 1,3-butadiene; and benzo(a)pyrene were also quantified. The results show that except for the levels of carbonyls, all types of e-cigarettes performed in a similar manner, and emission levels for HPHCs were generally not quantifiable. However, levels of carbonyls, especially formaldehyde, were highly variable. Overall, the lowest levels of formaldehyde were observed in cartridge systems, which generally achieved substantial reductions in yields in comparison with cigarette smoke. Formaldehyde levels in open tank systems were variable; however, the median formaldehyde levels across different brands were substantially lower than the formaldehyde levels in cigarette smoke. The results for variable-power devices operated at the highest voltage confirmed existing literature data regardless of orientation and differences in puffing regimes. Furthermore, our results show that many products deliver consistent HPHC yields over a broad range of testing conditions (with minimal variability from one device to another, under a range of puffing conditions). However, some products exhibit high variability in emissions of HPHCs. The use of air blanks is further highlighted to assess nonproduct-related contributions to HPHC levels to avoid misrepresentation of the data. Overall, our results highlight that some but not all electronic cigarettes deliver low levels of carbonyls consistently across the full e-liquid depletion cycle under different test conditions. The need for further research and standardization work on assessment of variable-voltage electronic cigarettes is emphasized.