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Keywords:

  • Electronic cigarette;
  • Indoor air quality;
  • Formaldehyde;
  • Ultrafine particles;
  • Propylene glycol;
  • Third-hand smoke

Abstract

Electronic cigarette consumption (‘vaping’) is marketed as an alternative to conventional tobacco smoking. Technically, a mixture of chemicals containing carrier liquids, flavors, and optionally nicotine is vaporized and inhaled. The present study aims at the determination of the release of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and (ultra)fine particles (FP/UFP) from an e-cigarette under near-to-real-use conditions in an 8-m3 emission test chamber. Furthermore, the inhaled mixture is analyzed in small chambers. An increase in FP/UFP and VOC could be determined after the use of the e-cigarette. Prominent components in the gas-phase are 1,2-propanediol, 1,2,3-propanetriol, diacetin, flavorings, and traces of nicotine. As a consequence, ‘passive vaping’ must be expected from the consumption of e-cigarettes. Furthermore, the inhaled aerosol undergoes changes in the human lung that is assumed to be attributed to deposition and evaporation.

Practical Implications

The consumption of e-cigarettes marks a new source for chemical and aerosol exposure in the indoor environment. To evaluate the impact of e-cigarettes on indoor air quality and to estimate the possible effect of passive vaping, information about the chemical characteristics of the released vapor is needed.