Comparison of select analytes in aerosol from e-cigarettes with smoke from conventional cigarettes and with ambient air

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014 Dec;70(3):704-10. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2014.10.010. Epub 2014 Oct 24.


Leading commercial electronic cigarettes were tested to determine bulk composition. The e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes were evaluated using machine-puffing to compare nicotine delivery and relative yields of chemical constituents. The e-liquids tested were found to contain humectants, glycerin and/or propylene glycol, (⩾75% content); water (<20%); nicotine (approximately 2%); and flavor (<10%). The aerosol collected mass (ACM) of the e-cigarette samples was similar in composition to the e-liquids. Aerosol nicotine for the e-cigarette samples was 85% lower than nicotine yield for the conventional cigarettes. Analysis of the smoke from conventional cigarettes showed that the mainstream cigarette smoke delivered approximately 1500times more harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) tested when compared to e-cigarette aerosol or to puffing room air. The deliveries of HPHCs tested for these e-cigarette products were similar to the study air blanks rather than to deliveries from conventional cigarettes; no significant contribution of cigarette smoke HPHCs from any of the compound classes tested was found for the e-cigarettes. Thus, the results of this study support previous researchers' discussion of e-cigarette products' potential for reduced exposure compared to cigarette smoke.

Keywords: Electronic cigarette; Harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHC); Nicotine; Smoking; Tobacco.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / analysis*
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Glycerol / analysis
  • Hazardous Substances / analysis*
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Propylene Glycol / analysis
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Tobacco Products*


  • Aerosols
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Smoke
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Nicotine
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Glycerol