Flavor-Toxicant Correlation in E-cigarettes: A Meta-Analysis

Chem Res Toxicol. 2020 Dec 21;33(12):2932-2938. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.0c00247. Epub 2020 Nov 13.


Flavors in electronic cigarette (ECIG) liquids may increase ECIG aerosol toxicity via intact distillation or chemical transformation. For this report, we performed a meta-analysis of the literature to categorize the compounds found in flavored ECIG liquids into a few chemical classes and to predict their possible chemical transformations upon ECIG liquid aerosolization. This analysis allowed us to propose specific correlations between flavoring chemicals and aerosol toxicants. A literature search was conducted in November 2019 using PubMed. Keywords included terms related to ECIGs and flavors. Studies were included if they reported chemical ingredients of flavored liquids and clearly stated the commercial names of these liquids. The obtained data were visualized on a network diagram to show the common chemical compounds identified in flavored ECIG liquids and categorize them into different chemical classes. The systematic literature review included a total of 11 articles. Analysis of the data reported gave a total of 189 flavored liquids and 173 distinct chemical compounds that were categorized into 22 chemical classes according to their functional groups. The subsequent prediction of chemical transformations of these functional groups highlighted the possible correlation of flavor compounds to aerosol toxicants.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Flavoring Agents / adverse effects
  • Flavoring Agents / analysis*
  • Humans


  • Flavoring Agents