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Tob Control. 2014 May;23 Suppl 2:ii4-10. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051476.

Electronic cigarettes: product characterisation and design considerations.

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1
Center for Tobacco Products, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, , Rockville, Maryland, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To review the available evidence regarding electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) product characterisation and design features in order to understand their potential impact on individual users and on public health.

METHODS:

Systematic literature searches in 10 reference databases were conducted through October 2013. A total of 14 articles and documents and 16 patents were included in this analysis.

RESULTS:

Numerous disposable and reusable e-cigarette product options exist, representing wide variation in product configuration and component functionality. Common e-cigarette components include an aerosol generator, a flow sensor, a battery and a nicotine-containing solution storage area. e-cigarettes currently include many interchangeable parts, enabling users to modify the character of the delivered aerosol and, therefore, the product's 'effectiveness' as a nicotine delivery product. Materials in e-cigarettes may include metals, rubber and ceramics. Some materials may be aerosolised and have adverse health effects. Several studies have described significant performance variability across and within e-cigarette brands. Patent applications include novel product features designed to influence aerosol properties and e-cigarette efficiency at delivering nicotine.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although e-cigarettes share a basic design, engineering variations and user modifications result in differences in nicotine delivery and potential product risks. e-cigarette aerosols may include harmful and potentially harmful constituents. Battery explosions and the risks of exposure to the e-liquid (especially for children) are also concerns. Additional research will enhance the current understanding of basic e-cigarette design and operation, aerosol production and processing, and functionality. A standardised e-cigarette testing regime should be developed to allow product comparisons.

KEYWORDS:

Electronic nicotine delivery devices; Nicotine; Non-cigarette tobacco products

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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