Wen-Hsi Cheng This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Chia-Yu Chang, Yi-Ya Chen, Hui-Wen Su

Department of Occupational Safety and Hygiene, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan


Received: December 28, 2020
Revised: March 19, 2021
Accepted: March 19, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200672  

  • Download: PDF

Cite this article:

Cheng, W.H., Chang, C.Y., Chen, Y.Y., Su, H.W. (2021). Chemical Composition of Aerosols of an Electronic Cigarette. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200672


  • Needle trap samplers were used to extract compounds in e-cigarette aerosol.
  • Concentrations of chemical compounds in secondhand aerosol were examined.
  • Users are exposed to nicotine of high concentration when e-liquid leaks.
  • E-cigarette is not a perfect tool for cessation due to a high exposure of nicotine.


A needle trap sampler (NTS) packed with 60–80 mesh divinylbenzene (DVB) adsorbent inside a 22-gauge stainless steel needle, was used as a micro sampling device to extract chemical compounds in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) aerosol. The air samples were analyzed using a gas chromatography (GC)-mass spectroscopy (MS) system to determine its constituents. Based on the experimental results, e-cigarette smokers are exposed to high concentrations of nicotine (146±51 mg m-3) in a long session. If the e-cigarette liquid leaks through the filter of the cartridge of an e-cigarette, the user is exposed to nicotine of very high concentration of 914 mg m-3. Other main compounds in the smoke of e-cigarettes are vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol and triacetin. The concentration of nicotine in the secondhand aerosol is lower than 1 mg/m3 (around 0.43–1.74 mg m-3).

Keywords: Electronic cigarette, E-cigarette liquid, Needle trap samplers, Nicotine, Exposure

Don't forget to share this article 


Subscribe to our Newsletter 

Aerosol and Air Quality Research has published over 2,000 peer-reviewed articles. Enter your email address to receive latest updates and research articles to your inbox every second week.

Aerosol and Air Quality Research (AAQR) is an independently-run non-profit journal, promotes submissions of high-quality research, and strives to be one of the leading aerosol and air quality open-access journals in the world.