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Analysis of Secondhand E-cigarette Aerosol Compounds in an Indoor Setting

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Objectives: In this study, we measured concentrations of PM2.5 and major volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present during a real-world indoor e-cigarette event. Methods: Particulates of 2.5 μm aerodynamic diameter or smaller (PM2.5) were measured using personal aerosol monitors, and air samples were collected using thermal desorption tubes, before and during the e-cigarette event. Results: The average median concentration of PM2.5 measured pre-event was 3.0 μg/m3 and during the event was 81.4 μg/m3. Event levels of PM2.5 ranged from 40.0-447.0 μg/m3. The total pre-event VOC concentration was 220 μg/m3 compared to 330 μg/m3 during the event. Compounds with the largest increase in concentration from pre-event to event samples were propylene glycol (PG) (3 μg/m3 to 110 μg/m3) and vegetable glycerin (VG) (0 μg/m3 to 35 μg/m3). Conclusions: PM2.5 concentrations during the event were comparable to those previously reported in bars where cigarette smoking was allowed. PG and VG concentrations were substantially higher in the event samples compared to pre-event samples. Given emerging knowledge on the health impacts of inhaling these compounds, regulators should consider policies that prevent exposure to secondhand e-cigarette aerosol in workspaces and public places.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 2018

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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