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J Chromatogr Sci. 2017 Feb;55(2):142-148. doi: 10.1093/chromsci/bmw157. Epub 2016 Oct 7.

Method for the Determination of Carbonyl Compounds in E-Cigarette Aerosols.

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Altria Client Services LLC, 601 East Jackson Street, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Altria Client Services LLC, 601 East Jackson Street, Richmond, VA 23219, USA.


Low levels of thermal degradation products such as carbonyls (formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, crotonaldehyde) have been reported in e-cigarette aerosols. The collection and analysis of e-cigarette aerosol carbonyls are often adapted from methods developed for tobacco cigarette smoke. These methodologies are often not sensitive enough to detect low carbonyl levels in e-cigarette aerosols. One objective of this work was to develop and validate a rapid, selective and sensitive ultra-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry method optimized for analysis of carbonyls in e-cigarette aerosols. Aerosols were trapped in 20-puff collections, 4-s durations, 55-mL volumes, 30-s intervals, square wave puff profiles. Collection apparatus involved a linear smoking machine with Cambridge filter pad followed by a glass impinger containing acidified 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine. This method showed limits of quantitation and detection of 0.016 and 0.003 µg puff-1, respectively, and run time of 4 min. Six e-cigarettes were evaluated (five devices each). All contained measurable levels of carbonyls. Levels were mostly well below those in conventional cigarettes. However, for some e-cigarettes, formaldehyde levels were above those for tobacco cigarettes (highest at 14.1 µg puff-1). Temperatures related to carbonyl yields in e-cigarette aerosols were explored to better understand carbonyl formation: formation of formaldehyde is low at temperatures below 350°C.

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