Chemical analysis of fresh and aged Australian e-cigarette liquids

Alexander Larcombe, Sebastien Allard, Paul Pringle, Ryan Mead-Hunter, Natalie Anderson, Benjamin Mullins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To assess the chemical composition of electronic cigarette liquids (e-liquids) sold in Australia, in both their fresh and aged forms. Design, setting: Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of commercial e-liquids sold in Australia (online and physical stores). Main outcome measures: Chemical composition of 65 Australian e-liquids — excipients/solvents, flavouring chemicals, other known e-liquid constituents (including nicotine), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — before and after an accelerated ageing process that simulated the effects of vaping. Results: The measured levels of propylene glycol and glycerol often diverged from those recorded on the e-liquid label. All e-liquids contained one or more potentially harmful chemicals, including benzaldehyde, menthol, trans-cinnamaldehyde, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Nicotine or nicotyrine were detected in a small proportion of e-liquids at extremely low concentrations. Conclusions: Australian e-liquids contain a wide variety of chemicals for which information on inhalation toxicity is not available. Further analyses are required to assess the potential long term effects of e-cigarette use on health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Early online date15 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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