Identification and Quantification of Several Contaminated Compounds in Replacement Liquids of Electronic Cigarettes by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

J Chromatogr Sci. 2015 Jul;53(6):841-8. doi: 10.1093/chromsci/bmu146. Epub 2014 Nov 16.


Electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes) are devices that are refilled with replacement liquids, which normally contain propylene glycol, nicotine and the desired flavor blend. Many consumers suspect that hazardous substances are present in addition to nicotine content. In this study, eight contaminated compounds in 105 replacement liquids from 11 types of E-cigarettes sold in the Republic of Korea were identified and quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Diethyl phthalate and diethylhexyl phthalate were detected in concentration ranges of 0.01-1745.20 mg/L (47.6% detection frequency) and 0.06-81.89 mg/L (79.1% detection frequency) in the replacement liquids. Triethylene glycol, tetraethylene glycol and pentaethylene glycol were quantified in concentration ranges of 0.1-19.3 mg/L (10.5% detection frequency), 0.1-30.1 mg/L (12.4% detection frequency) and 0.1-24.9 mg/L (6.7% detection frequency) in the same samples. cis-3-Hexene-1-ol, methyl cinnamate and dodecane were quantified in concentration ranges of 0.03-3267.46 mg/L (70.5% detection frequency), 4.41-637.54 mg/L (6.7% detection frequency) and 0.01-639.96 mg/L (47.6% detection frequency) in the samples.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Contamination*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Hazardous Substances / analysis*
  • Hazardous Substances / chemistry
  • Hazardous Substances / isolation & purification
  • Limit of Detection
  • Linear Models
  • Nicotine / chemistry*
  • Phthalic Acids / analysis*
  • Phthalic Acids / chemistry
  • Phthalic Acids / isolation & purification
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Hazardous Substances
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Nicotine