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Do flavouring compounds contribute to aldehyde emissions in e-cigarettes?

1/5/2018 - Food and chemical toxicology

INTRODUCTION: A recent study identified up to 10,000-fold higher aldehyde emissions from flavoured compared to unflavoured e-cigarette liquids. We set to replicate this study and also test similar flavourings with a new-generation e-cigarette device. METHODS: Three liquids with the highest levels of aldehyde emissions in the previous study were tested (in standard and sweetened versions) using the same e-cigarette device and puffing patterns. Additionally, similar flavourings from a different manufacturer were tested using a new-generation e-cigarette device. Unflavoured samples were also tested. RESULTS: Low levels of formaldehyde (8.3-62 μg/g), acetaldehyde (12.1-26.0 μg/g) and acrolein (5.4-19.4 μg/g) were detected, lower by up to 589-fold compared to the previous report. Unflavoured liquid emitted 16.1 μg/g formaldehyde, 5.6 μg/g acetaldehyde and 2.4 μg/g acrolein, significantly lower compared to 2 liquids for formaldehyde and 1 for acrolein. Emissions from the new-generation device were even lower. Aldehyde emissions from all flavoured liquids were 79-99.8% lower than smoking and lower than commonly measured indoor levels and occupational and indoor safety limits. CONCLUSIONS: The e-cigarettes tested herein emit very low levels of aldehydes. Some flavourings may contribute to aldehyde emissions, but the absolute levels were minimal. Validated methods should be used when analysing e-cigarette emissions.
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