Development and characterization of electronic-cigarette exposure generation system (Ecig-EGS) for the physico-chemical and toxicological assessment of electronic cigarette emissions

Inhal Toxicol. 2016 Dec;28(14):658-669. doi: 10.1080/08958378.2016.1246628. Epub 2016 Nov 10.


Electronic cigarettes (e-cig) have been introduced as a nicotine replacement therapy and have gained increasing attention and popularity. However, while findings on possible toxicological implications continue to grow, major knowledge gaps on both the complex chemistry of the exposure and toxicity exist, prohibiting public health assessors from assessing risks. Here, a versatile electronic cigarette exposure generation system (Ecig-EGS) has been developed and characterized. Ecig-EGS allows generation of real world e-cig emission profiles under controlled operational conditions, real time monitoring and time-integrated particle/gas sampling for physico-chemical characterization, and toxicological assessment (both in vitro and in vivo). The platform is highly versatile and can be used with all e-cig types. It enables generation of precisely controlled e-cig exposure while critical operational parameters and environmental mixing conditions can be adjusted in a systematic manner to assess their impact on complex chemistry and toxicity of emissions. Results proved the versatility and reproducibility of Ecig-EGS. E-cig emission was found to contain 106-107 particles/cm3 with the mode diameter around 200 nm, under air change rate of 60/h. Elevated CO2 and volatile organic specie generation was also observed. Furthermore, environmental mixing conditions also influenced e-cig emission profile. The versatility of Ecig-EGS will enable linking of operational and environmental parameters with exposure chemistry and toxicology and help in assessing health risks.

Keywords: Electronic cigarette; exposure assessment; exposure platform; particulate matter; smoking; vaping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollutants* / toxicity
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Particulate Matter* / analysis
  • Particulate Matter* / toxicity
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Toxicity Tests / instrumentation*
  • Toxicity Tests / methods


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter