1,2-Propylene glycol and glycerin, principal components of e-liquids, can thermally degrade to form acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde when heated in electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). Recently the flavors in e-liquids were suggested to be the major source of these aldehydes. We used the same 10 ENDS devices to test 5 e-liquid formulations (four flavored & one corresponding non-flavored) and measured device mass loss and levels of acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde (30 replicate measurements per formulation). Despite finding reasonable variability in measurements of device mass loss, two out of 10 ENDS devices tested produced outlier values for aerosol levels acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde. After removing these devices from further analysis, acceptable variability (≤20% RSD) in aerosol levels of acetaldehyde, and formaldehyde were found. The flavored formulations tested resulted in a consistent and selective increase of 150%–200% in acetaldehyde, no increase or decrease in acrolein and depending on the flavor formulation, an increase, a decrease or no change in formaldehyde levels. Comparison of our results to the literature illustrates the need for development of a standardized ENDS testing protocol. Our results further support that device variability must be fully characterized and considered before assessing the impact of e-liquid formulations.

Authors & Affiliations:

I. GeneGillman, Alexander S.C.Pennington, Kathy E.Humphries
Enthalpy Analytical, Durham, NC, USA

Michael J.Oldham
Oldham Associates LLC, Manakin Sabot, VA, USA