U.S. FDA draft guidance recommends reporting quantities of designated harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) in e-cigarette e-liquids and aerosols. The HPHC list comprises potential matrix-related compounds, flavors, nicotine, tobacco-related impurities, leachables, thermal degradation products, and combustion-related compounds. E-cigarettes contain trace levels of many of these constituents due to tobacco-derived nicotine and thermal degradation. However, combustion-related HPHCs are not likely to be found due to the relatively low operating temperatures of most e-cigarettes. The purpose of this work was to use highly sensitive, selective, and validated analytical methods to determine if these combustion-related HPHCs (three aromatic amines, five volatile organic compounds, and the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon benzo[a]pyrene) are detectable in commercial refill e-liquids, reference e-cigarette e-liquids, and aerosols generated from rechargeable e-cigarettes with disposable cartridges (often referred to as “cig-a-likes”). In addition, the transfer efficiency of these constituents from e-liquid to aerosol was evaluated when these HPHCs were added to the e-liquids prior to aerosol formation. This work demonstrates that combustion-related HPHCs are not present at measurable levels in the commercial and reference e-liquids or e-cigarette aerosols tested. Additionally, when combustion-related HPHCs are added to the e-liquids, they transfer to the aerosol with transfer efficiencies ranging from 49% to 99%.
Wagner, K. A., Flora, J. W., Melvin, M. S., Avery, K. C., Ballentine, R. M., Brown, A. P., & McKinney, W. J. (2018). An evaluation of electronic cigarette formulations and aerosols for harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) typically derived from combustion. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 95, 153–160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yrtph.2018.03.012