What is the content of the electronic cigarette liquids according to their flavor? An evaluation in nine European Union countries before TPD implementation
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Laboratory of Toxicology, Medical School, University of Crete, Voutes, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention, Brussels, Belgium
Publish date: 2018-06-13
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2018;4(Supplement):A80
Safety data on the chemical content of the electronic cigarette liquids depending on their flavors are scarce. Aims and objectives: This study aimed to identify and evaluate the content of e-liquids according to their flavor in the most common e-liquid products in the EU.

Within the Horizon2020, EUREST-PLUS study, 122 of the most commonly sold e-liquids in 9 European Countries (France, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Romania, Hungary and Greece) were randomly selected and purchased. E-liquids were then divided into 7 groups according to their flavor. These groups are: Tobacco (35), Fruits (44), Menthol-mint (9), Non-alcoholic drinks (10), Alcohol (5), Desserts-sweets (11) and other flavors (8). A qualitative chemical analysis was performed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry technique companied with solid phase microextraction (GC-SPME-MS), while the identification of the compound was done by NIST or Wiley library.

After analyzing the total number of the samples, 232 compounds were detected in total. The 101 of these compounds were detected in Fruit flavor, 52 in the Tobacco flavor, 30 in the Non-alcoholic drinks flavor, 26 in the Desserts-sweets flavor, 24 in the alcohol flavor, 12 in the other flavors category and 15 in menthol-mint flavor. Of the detected compounds, Nonanal and Oxime-, methoxy-phenyl were the most frequently detected compound (15 and 14 times in tobacco flavor respectively) and also present in all flavors. These compounds are strong irritants to skin and eye. Additionally, banana oil, which was detected in 12 Fruit flavor samples and in most flavors, can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation, narcotic effects and damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure

To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the chemical content of the most common e-liquids in the EU depending on the flavor, indicating that several flavors could be more hazardous. Stricter strategies for these products are necessary.

This work was supported by a grant from the European Commission (Horizon2020 HCO-6-2015; EUREST-PLUS: 681109; Vardavas).