Gloria Wink


Electronic cigarettes (ECs) have emerged in the marketplace in recent years and are gaining popularity, but with relatively little understanding of their health impact to consumers. To remedy the gap in knowledge about ECs and their emissions, we have developed a technique to measure their nicotine content, emission efficiency, and nicotine delivery using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Figures of merit for the GC-MS analytical method were determined. In addition to the analytical method development, we also studied the nicotine characteristics of disposable and re-fillable ECs (both in e-liquids and emissions) using our method. For the disposable ECs, prior to puffing, products were dissected; the nicotine containing solution was extracted with methanol and analyzed gravimetrically and by GC-MS to determine the contents of un-puffed devices. The aerosolized emissions of ECs were collected on filter pads using our in-house puffing machine, the contents of the filters were extracted, and subsequently analyzed gravimetrically and by GC-MS. Five popular brands of disposable ECs were studied and showed varying emission efficiencies under our puffing regime that corresponded to differing levels of nicotine delivery. Our results also show that there are discrepancies between the nicotine concentrations reported on disposable EC packaging by manufacturers and our analytical results. Three refillable EC devices were also tested for nicotine delivery using a variety of machine puffing parameters. Our results revealed the puffing parameters (puff duration, puff volume, and puff flow rate) play roles in the nicotine delivery of re-fillable ECs. In whole, this work contributes toward developing reliable analytical methods that will hopefully work toward a better understanding of the health impact of relatively new ECs on consumers and also to those in the indoor air environment that may passively consume EC emissions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Electronic cigarettes; Nicotine; Mass spectrometry; Gas chromatography

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Environmental Science (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)


Todd Pagano

Advisor/Committee Member

Susan Smith Pagano

Advisor/Committee Member

Risa Robinson


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at RA1242.N5 W46 2015


RIT – Main Campus

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