Kinetics of Aldehyde Flavorant-Acetal Formation in E-Liquids with Different E-Cigarette Solvents and Common Additives Studied by H NMR Spectroscopy.

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Chemical Research in Toxicology

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Flavorants, nicotine, and organic acids are common additives found in the e-liquid carrier solvent, propylene glycol (PG) and/or glycerol (GL), at various concentrations. Some of the most concentrated and prevalent flavorants in e-liquids include -cinnamaldehyde, vanillin, and benzaldehyde. Aldehyde flavorants have been shown to react with PG and GL to form flavorant-PG and -GL acetals that have unique toxicity properties in e-liquids before aerosolization. However, there is still much that remains unknown about the effects of different e-cigarette solvents, water, nicotine, and organic acids on the rate of acetalization in e-liquids. We used H NMR spectroscopy to determine the first-order initial rate constant, half-life, and % acetal formed at equilibrium for flavorant-acetal formation in simulated e-liquids. Herein, we report that acetalization generally occurs at a faster rate and produces greater yields in e-liquids with higher ratios of GL (relative to PG). -Cinnamaldehyde acetals formed the fastest in 100% PG-simulated e-liquids, followed by benzaldehyde and vanillin based on their half-lives and rate constants. The acetal yield was greatest for benzaldehyde in PG e-liquids, followed by -cinnamaldehyde and vanillin. Acetalization in PG e-liquids containing aldehyde flavorants was inhibited by water and nicotine but catalyzed by benzoic acid. Flavorant-PG acetal formation was generally delayed in the presence of nicotine, even if benzoic acid was present at 2-, 4-, or 10-fold the nicotine concentration, as compared to the PG e-liquids with 2.5 mg/mL flavorant. Thus, commercial e-liquids with aldehyde flavorants containing a higher GL ratio (relative to PG), little water, no nicotine, nicotine with excess organic acids, or organic acids without nicotine would undergo acetalization the fastest and with the highest yield. Many commercial e-liquids must therefore contain significant amounts of flavorant acetals.


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