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Flavoring Compounds Dominate Toxic Aldehyde Production during E-Cigarette Vaping

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.6b05145

The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) raises concerns about the possibility of adverse health effects to primary users and people exposed to e-cigarette vapors. E-Cigarettes offer a very wide variety of flavors, which is one of the main factors that attract new, especially young, users. How flavoring compounds in e-cigarette liquids affect the chemical composition and toxicity of e-cigarette vapors is practically unknown. Although e-cigarettes are marketed as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes, several studies have demonstrated formation of toxic aldehydes in e-cigarette vapors during vaping. So far, aldehyde formation has been attributed to thermal decomposition of the main components of e-cigarette e-liquids (propylene glycol and glycerol), while the role of flavoring compounds has been ignored. In this study, we have measured several toxic aldehydes produced by three popular brands of e-cigarettes with flavored and unflavored e-liquids. We show that, within the tested e-cigarette brands, thermal decomposition of flavoring compounds dominates formation of aldehydes during vaping, producing levels that exceed occupational safety standards. Production of aldehydes was found to be exponentially dependent on concentration of flavoring compounds. These findings stress the need for a further, thorough investigation of the effect of flavoring compounds on the toxicity of e-cigarettes.

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