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Issue 29, 2017
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A novel method of nicotine quantification in electronic cigarette liquids and aerosols

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Abstract

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have emerged as popular electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDs). However, the general safety and validity of e-cigarettes for nicotine delivery efficacy are still not well understood. This study developed a new method for efficient measurement of nicotine levels in both the liquids (e-liquids) used in e-cigarettes and the aerosols generated from e-cigarettes. Protonation of the pyrrolidine nitrogen of nicotine molecules by addition of excess hydrochloric acid affords an aminium salt that is readily quantified by Fourier transform ion cyclotron mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS). The kinetics of nicotine protonation were studied using 1H NMR spectroscopy. Quantitative analyses of nicotine in commercial e-liquids and in the corresponding derived e-cigarette aerosols were carried out using direct infusion FT-ICR-MS. The 1H NMR study of nicotine protonation revealed a first order reaction and an activation energy of 30.05 kJ mol−1. The nicotine levels measured in the commercial e-liquids were within a wide and highly variable range of −2.94% to +25.20% around the manufacturer's stated values. The results indicated considerable differences between the measured levels and the advertised levels of nicotine in the e-liquids. The nicotine quantity measured in aerosols increased linearly both with the nicotine level in e-liquids (same number of puffs) and with the number of puffs (same e-liquids). These data show that quality control of e-liquids and use characteristics are major variables in the efficacy of nicotine delivery.

Graphical abstract: A novel method of nicotine quantification in electronic cigarette liquids and aerosols

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Apr 2017, accepted on 17 Jun 2017 and first published on 19 Jun 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7AY00501F
Citation: Anal. Methods, 2017,9, 4261-4266
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    A novel method of nicotine quantification in electronic cigarette liquids and aerosols

    M. A. Ogunwale, Y. Chen, W. S. Theis, M. H. Nantz, D. J. Conklin and X. Fu, Anal. Methods, 2017, 9, 4261
    DOI: 10.1039/C7AY00501F

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