Effect of variable power levels on the yield of total aerosol mass and formation of aldehydes in e-cigarette aerosols

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2016 Mar:75:58-65. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.12.019. Epub 2015 Dec 29.


The study objective was to determine the effect of variable power applied to the atomizer of refillable tank based e-cigarette (EC) devices. Five different devices were evaluated, each at four power levels. Aerosol yield results are reported for each set of 25 EC puffs, as mass/puff, and normalized for the power applied to the coil, in mass/watt. The range of aerosol produced on a per puff basis ranged from 1.5 to 28 mg, and, normalized for power applied to the coil, ranged from 0.27 to 1.1 mg/watt. Aerosol samples were also analyzed for the production of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein, as DNPH derivatives, at each power level. When reported on mass basis, three of the devices showed an increase in total aldehyde yield with increasing power applied to the coil, while two of the devices showed the opposite trend. The mass of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein produced per gram of total aerosol produced ranged from 0.01 to 7.3 mg/g, 0.006 to 5.8 mg/g, and <0.003 to 0.78 mg/g, respectively. These results were used to estimate daily exposure to formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein from EC aerosols from specific devices, and were compared to estimated exposure from consumption of cigarettes, to occupational and workplace limits, and to previously reported results from other researchers.

Keywords: 2,4-DNPH derivatives of aldehydes; Acetaldehyde; Acrolein; Chemical composition; Electronic nicotine delivery systems; Electronic-cigarettes; Formaldehyde; Liquid chromatography; Toxicology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaldehyde / analysis*
  • Acetaldehyde / standards
  • Acrolein / analysis*
  • Acrolein / standards
  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / standards
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Exposure / standards
  • Formaldehyde / analysis*
  • Formaldehyde / standards
  • Workplace / standards


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants
  • Formaldehyde
  • Acrolein
  • Acetaldehyde