Reducing toxic reactive carbonyl species in e-cigarette emissions: testing a harm-reduction strategy based on dicarbonyl trapping
Reducing the concentration of reactive carbonyl species (RCS) in e-cigarette emissions represents a major goal to control their potentially harmful effects. Here, we adopted a novel strategy of trapping carbonyls present in e-cigarette emissions by adding polyphenols in e-liquid formulations. Our work showed that the addition of gallic acid, hydroxytyrosol and epigallocatechin gallate reduced the levels of carbonyls formed in the aerosols of vaped e-cigarettes, including formaldehyde, methylglyoxal and glyoxal. Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry analysis highlighted the formation of covalent adducts between aromatic rings and dicarbonyls in both e-liquids and vaped samples, suggesting that dicarbonyls were formed in the e-liquids as degradation products of propylene glycol and glycerol before vaping. Short-term cytotoxic analysis on two lung cellular models showed that dicarbonyl-polyphenol adducts are not cytotoxic, even though carbonyl trapping did not improve cell viability. Our work sheds lights on the ability of polyphenols to trap RCS in high carbonyl e-cigarette emissions, suggesting their potential value in commercial e-liquid formulations.