Exposure, Retention, Exhalation, Symptoms, and Environmental Accumulation of Chemicals During JUUL Vaping.

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Chemical Research in Toxicology

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Little is known about the chemical exposures that electronic cigarette (EC) users receive and emit during JUUL vaping and if exposures produce symptoms dose dependently. This study examined chemical exposure (dose), retention, symptoms during vaping, and the environmental accumulation of exhaled propylene glycol (PG), glycerol (G), nicotine, and menthol in a cohort of human participants who vaped JUUL "Menthol" ECs. We refer to this environmental accumulation as "EC exhaled aerosol residue" (ECEAR). Chemicals were quantified using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry in JUUL pods before and after use, lab-generated aerosols, human exhaled aerosols, and in ECEAR. Unvaped JUUL "Menthol" pods contained ∼621.3 mg/mL of G, ∼264.9 mg/mL of PG, ∼59.3 mg/mL of nicotine, ∼13.3 mg/mL of menthol, and ∼0.1 mg/mL of the coolant WS-23. Eleven experienced male EC users (aged 21-26) provided exhaled aerosol and residue samples before and after vaping JUUL pods. Participants vaped for 20 min, while their average puff count (22 ± 6.4) and puff duration (4.4 ± 2.0) were recorded. The transfer efficiency of nicotine, menthol, and WS-23 from the pod fluid into the aerosol varied with each chemical and was generally similar across flow rates (9-47 mL/s). At 21 mL/s, the average mass of each chemical retained by the participants who vaped 20 min was 53.2 ± 40.3 mg for G, 18.9 ± 14.3 mg for PG, 3.3 ± 2.7 mg for nicotine, and 0.5 ± 0.4 mg for menthol, with retention deduced to be ∼90-100% for each chemical. There was a significant positive relationship between the number of symptoms during vaping and total chemical mass retained. ECEAR accumulated on enclosed surfaces where it could contribute to passive exposure. These data will be valuable to researchers studying human exposure to EC aerosols and agencies that regulate EC products.


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