Detection of Potentially Toxic Additives in Electronic Cigarettes and Cigarette Flavourings

Benjamin Cromwell, Lisa Cid Mota, Mindy Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


While the popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has rapidly increased in recent years, the regulation around the composition of such e-cigarettes has lagged. Many components of the e-cigarettes and liquid flavorings (e-liquids) used in these products are not disclosed, and the potential for exposure to toxic compounds via use of these products is significant. Reported herein is an analysis of the components of e-cigarettes as well as of three popular e-liquids via gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. These results show that components of the e-cigarette contain large quantities of aromatic compounds, and that the e-liquids contain smaller quantities of potentially concerning additives. Most notably, 96% of the extract from the filter was composed of benzyl chloride, a potent DNA alkylating agent, a result which should be of significant concern to consumers, regulatory agencies, and e-cigarette manufacturers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1407-1415
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - 12 Jun 2020


  • Electronic cigarettes
  • gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • organic toxicants


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