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The Effect of Electronic Cigarette User Modifications and E-liquid Adulteration on the Particle Size Profile of an Aerosolized Product

NCJ Number
Date Published
10 pages
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of various e-cigarette and e-liquid modifications - such as coil resistance, battery voltage, and glycol and drug formulation - on the aerosol particle size.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are an alternate nicotine delivery system that generate a condensation aerosol to be inhaled by the user. The size of the droplets formed in the aerosol can vary and contributes to drug deposition and ultimate bioavailability in the lung. The growing popularity of e-cigarette products has caused an increase in internet sources promoting the use of drugs other than nicotine (DOTNs) in e-cigarettes. In the current study, e-liquids containing 12 mg/mL nicotine prepared in glycol compositions of 100 percent propylene glycol (PG), 100 percent vegetable glycerin (VG), or 50:50 PG:VG were aerosolized at three voltages and three coil resistances. Methamphetamine and methadone e-liquids were prepared at 60 mg/mL in 50:50 PG:VG, and all e-liquids were aerosolized onto a 10 stage Micro-Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor. Glycol deposition correlated with drug deposition, and most particles centered between 0.172-0.5 ìm in diameter, representing pulmonary deposition. The 100 percent PG e-liquid produced the largest aerosol particles, and the 100 percent VG and 50:50 PG:VG e-liquids produced ultra-fine particles <0.3 ìm. The presence of ultrafine particles indicates that drugs can be aerosolized and reach the pulmonary alveolar regions, highlighting a potential for abuse and risk of overdose with DOTNs aerosolized in an e-cigarette system. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019