U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Characterization and Abuse of Electronic Cigarettes: The Efficacy of "Personal Vaporizers" as an Illicit Drug Delivery System

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2018
28 pages
The overarching purpose of this study was to characterize the use and efficacy of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) to deliver pharmaceutical products.

In addition to a functional description of e-cigs, the project developed methods to analyze the pharmaceutical products (e-liquids and aerosol) consumed through e-cigs. It reviewed truth in advertising for commercially available products, assessed adulterations to the products, and evaluated potential biomarkers. Overall, this study provides greater understanding in the court systems nationwide as to the nature of drug usage, abuse, and overdose cases in which e-cigs were used to deliver an illicit drug. Given that one role of the forensic toxicologist is to define and characterize drug usage trends, the current study posed an important, relevant, and critically timed analysis to address this identified threat to public health and criminal justice. This research supports the analytical efforts in controlled substances unit and will support the findings and opinions of scientists, medical examiners, death investigators, and forensic toxicologists as they present analytical results. In addition to providing critical information at an important time in the emergence of e-cig products, this study supports the efforts by regulatory agencies to understand the e-cigarette industry. The dissemination, products, and accomplishments of this project are noted, and nine manuscripts produced from the study are cited. 21 figures and 2 tables

Date Published: June 1, 2018