A Wide Range of Flavoring-Carrier Fluid Adducts Form in E-Cigarette Liquids

Publication Name

Chemical Research in Toxicology


A range of flavoring molecules are used in electronic cigarette liquids (e-liquids), some of which have been shown to form cyclic acetal adducts with e-liquid solvent components propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG). The objective of this study was to identify the range of flavoring molecules which form adducts in e-liquid products. Common e-liquid flavoring molecules (N = 36) from a range of chemical class groups were exposed to PG, VG, or methanol and analyzed by GC-MS over a time frame of 4 weeks to identify possible reaction products. Adduct formation was observed, with 14 of the flavoring molecules reacting with methanol, 10 reacting with PG, and 10 reacting with VG. Furfural PG and VG acetals, valeraldehyde PG and VG acetals, veretraldehyde PG and VG acetals, p-anisaldehyde PG and VG acetals, and piperonal VG acetal were confirmed for the first time. Adducts formed by reaction with ketone-containing flavoring molecules were also observed for the first time. The presence of these acetals was confirmed in 32% of commercial e-liquid products analyzed (N = 142). This study has established a range of flavoring molecules which are able to react with solvent components PG and VG in e-liquids under standard storage conditions. These newly identified adducts need to be further assessed to determine their toxicological safety.

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Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



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