Compensatory Puffing With Lower Nicotine Concentration E-liquids Increases Carbonyl Exposure in E-cigarette Aerosols

Article


Kośmider, Leon, Kimber, C., Kurek, Jolanta, Corcoran, O. and Dawkins, Lynne E. 2018. Compensatory Puffing With Lower Nicotine Concentration E-liquids Increases Carbonyl Exposure in E-cigarette Aerosols. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 20 (8), pp. 998-1003.
AuthorsKośmider, Leon, Kimber, C., Kurek, Jolanta, Corcoran, O. and Dawkins, Lynne E.
Abstract

Introduction: Article 20 of the European Tobacco Products Directive (EU-TPD) specifies that
e-liquids should not contain nicotine in excess of 20 mg/mL, thus many vapers may be compelled
to switch to lower concentrations and in so doing, may engage in more intensive puffing. This
study aimed to establish whether more intensive puffing produces higher levels of carbonyl compounds
in e-cigarette aerosols.
Methods: Using the HPLC-UV diode array method, four carbonyl compounds (formaldehyde, acetaldehyde,
acetone, and acrolein) were measured in liquids and aerosols from nicotine solutions of
24 and 6 mg/mL. Aerosols were generated using a smoking machine configured to replicate puffing
topography data previously obtained from 12 experienced e-cigarette users.
Results: Carbonyl levels in aerosols from the puffing regimen of 6 mg/mL were significantly higher
(p < .05 using independent samples t tests) compared with those of 24 mg/mL nicotine. For the 6 and
24 mg/mL nicotine aerosols respectively, means ± SD for formaldehyde levels were 3.41 ± 0.94, and 1.49 ±
0.30 μg per hour (μg/h) of e-cigarette use. Means ± SD for acetaldehyde levels were 2.17 ± 0.36 and 1.04 ±
0.13 μg/h. Means ± SD for acetone levels were 0.73 ± 0.20 and 0.28 ± 0.14 μg/h. Acrolein was not detected.
Conclusions: Higher levels of carbonyls associated with more intensive puffing suggest that vapers
switching to lower nicotine concentrations (either due to the EU-TPD implementation or personal
choice), may increase their exposure to these compounds. Based on real human puffing topography
data, this study suggests that limiting nicotine concentrations to 20 mg/mL may not result in
the desired harm minimalization effect.
Implications: More intensive puffing regimens associated with the use of low nicotine concentration
e-liquids can lead to higher levels of carbonyl generation in the aerosol. Although in need of replication
in a larger sample outside a laboratory, this study provides pragmatic empirical data on the potential
risks of compensatory puffing behaviors in vapers, and can help to inform future regulatory decisions
on nicotine e-liquid concentrations. The cap on nicotine concentration at 20 mg/mL set by the EU-TPD
may therefore have the unintended consequence of encouraging use of lower nicotine concentration
e-liquid, in turn increasing exposure to carbonyl compounds through compensatory puffing.

JournalNicotine & Tobacco Research
Journal citation20 (8), pp. 998-1003
ISSN1462-2203
Year2018
PublisherOxford University Press
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1093/ntr/ntx162
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntx162
Publication dates
Online22 Jul 2017
Print09 Jul 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Oct 2017
Accepted19 Jul 2017
FunderUniversity of East London
Copyright information© 2017 The authors. This article has been accepted for publication in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Published by Oxford University Press.
LicenseAll rights reserved (under embargo)
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