A simple approach to analysing trace metals in aerosols produced by e-cigarettes

Adam Haworth-Duff, Gareth Parkes, Natasha Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Electronic cigarettes are a relatively new alternative to cigarettes, which have been marketed as being safer for users than conventional cigarettes. However, they may still result in inhalation of potentially toxic or carcinogenic substances, including metals produced by the heating element. This study looked at the levels of trace metals being produced by different atomizers used in e-cigarettes using a sample introduction technique based on the collection of aerosols produced by e-cigarettes in nitric acid, using glass midget impingers. Collected metals were then identified using an inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), which allowed detection in the low ppb range. Results obtained showed considerable variation in the levels of metals between both manufacturers of atomizers and also between different batches of coils. This variation is likely to be even greater if the ability of users to customise some types of e-cigarettes is considered. Although there are limitations in terms of possible interferences from other metallic components in the e-cigarettes, the findings suggest the proposed method could be of use in investigating the risk of inhalation of toxic metals from e-cigarette use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1084-1090
Number of pages7
JournalDrug Testing and Analysis
Issue number10
Early online date12 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


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