A custom-built low-cost chamber for exposing rodents to e-cigarette aerosol: practical considerations

Inhal Toxicol. 2019 Sep-Oct;31(11-12):399-408. doi: 10.1080/08958378.2019.1698678. Epub 2019 Dec 4.


Objectives: To (1) design and build a low-cost exposure chamber system for whole-body exposure of rodents to electronic cigarette aerosol, (2) provide detailed instructions with particular focus on automated e-cigarette activation, and (3) develop a simple mathematical model for aerosol levels in the exposure chamber.Methods: We built the system with standard laboratory equipment and an open-source electronics platform (Arduino) for e-cigarette activation. Arduino is used to control a solenoid, which pushes the activation button of so-called "Mod" e-cigarettes, and a pump to move the aerosol from the mouthpiece of the e-cigarette into the chamber. For "Pods" and "Cigalikes," the solenoid is not used as they are activated by the vacuum created by the pump. Aerosol concentrations were measured with a light-scattering laser photometer.Results: The system allows varying the air exchange rate, monitoring aerosol levels, and programing arbitrary puff topography. Aerosol concentrations observed for different chamber operating conditions (puff time and period, e-cigarette power output, air exchange rate) were consistent with the mathematical model.Conclusions: Our low-cost exposure chamber can be used in animal experimental studies of the health effects of e-cigarettes. Our model allows estimating design parameters such as chamber volume, air exchange rate, and puff period.

Keywords: Arduino; E-cigarette; animal studies; design; exposure chamber; open-source electronics platform; puff topography; vaping machine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation*
  • Aerosols*
  • Animals
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Equipment Design*
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Rodentia


  • Aerosols
  • Nicotine