Effects of Common E-Liquid Flavorants and Added Nicotine on Toxicant Formation During Vaping Analyzed by H NMR Spectroscopy.

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Chemical Research in Toxicology

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A broad variety of e-liquids are used by e-cigarette consumers. Additives to the e-liquid carrier solvents, propylene glycol and glycerol, often include flavorants and nicotine at various concentrations. Flavorants in general have been reported to increase toxicant formation in e-cigarette aerosols, yet there is still much that remains unknown about the effects of flavorants, nicotine, and flavorants + nicotine on harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) when aerosolizing e-liquids. Common flavorants benzaldehyde, vanillin, benzyl alcohol, and -cinnamaldehyde have been identified as some of the most concentrated flavorants in some commercial e-liquids, yet there is limited information on their effects on HPHC formation. E-liquids containing flavorants + nicotine are also common, but the specific effects of flavorants + nicotine on toxicant formation remain understudied. We used H NMR spectroscopy to evaluate HPHCs and herein report that benzaldehyde, vanillin, benzyl alcohol, -cinnamaldehyde, and mixtures of these flavorants significantly increased toxicant formation produced during e-liquid aerosolization compared to unflavored e-liquids. However, e-liquids aerosolized with flavorants + nicotine decreased the HPHCs for benzaldehyde, vanillin, benzyl alcohol, and a "flavorant mixture" but increased the HPHCs for e-liquids containing -cinnamaldehyde compared to e-liquids with flavorants and no nicotine. We determined how nicotine affects the production of HPHCs from e-liquids with flavorant + nicotine versus flavorant, herein referred to as the "nicotine degradation factor". Benzaldehyde, vanillin, benzyl alcohol, and a "flavorant mixture" with nicotine showed lower HPHC levels, having nicotine degradation factors acetaldehyde, acrolein, and total formaldehyde. HPHC formation was most inhibited in e-liquids containing vanillin + nicotine, with a degradation factor of ∼0.5, while -cinnamaldehyde gave more HPHC formation when nicotine was present, with a degradation factor of ∼2.5 under the conditions studied. Thus, the effects of flavorant molecules and nicotine are complex and warrant further studies on their impacts in other e-liquid formulations as well as with more devices and heating element types.



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