Quantification of nicotine and major solvents in retail electronic cigarette fluids and vaped aerosols

Jun Dai, Ki Hyun Kim, Jan E. Szulejko, Sang Hee Jo, Kyenghee Kwon, Dal Woong Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The main ingredients used in e-liquid formulations (propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerol (VG), and nicotine (Nic)) in a total of 16 retail e-liquids (half containing nicotine)) were analyzed by an analytical method developed recently by our research group. The measured nicotine concentrations in e-liquids varied in a range of 5.7 to 14.7 mg g−1 and differed up to 9.0% from the declared label concentrations (two tailed P = 0.5424 at a 0.05 confidence level). The concentrations of Nic and PG in vaped aerosol samples were lower (by an average of 12.7% and 17.4%, respectively) than those in e-liquid samples, while the opposite was true for VG (1.95% higher on average). The composition (w/w) of 16 retail e-liquids varied: 82.6 to 94.9% PG + VG (n = 16), 0.68 to 1.63% nicotine (n = 8), and 5.1 to 16.2% unidentified compounds (water, flavors, etc., n = 16). For the corresponding vaped aerosols, the results were: 75.4 to 92.1% PG + VG (n = 16), 0.57 to 1.47% nicotine (n = 8), and 7.86 to 24.0% unidentified compounds (water, flavors, etc., n = 16). The relative proportion of unidentified compounds in vaped aerosols was two times higher than those in e-liquids. The mean nicotine vaping emission factor (39.6 μg puff−1) was about two times lower than that of a Kentucky 2R4F reference cigarette (75 μg puff−1). The measured e-cigarette vaping emission factors varied in a range of 22.5–61.5 μg Nic puff−1 (n = 8), 1.04–2.45 mg PG puff−1 (n = 16), and 1.35–2.09 mg VG puff−1 (n = 16).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
JournalMicrochemical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul


  • Aerosol
  • Commercial e-liquids
  • E-cigarette
  • Emission factor
  • Nicotine
  • Vaping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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