"An online method for the analysis of volatile organic compounds in electronic cigarette aerosol based on proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry",
Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom.
, vol. 30, pp. 691–697, Feb, 2016.
<p>Rationale Due to the recent rapid increase in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use worldwide, there is a strong scientific but also practical interest in analyzing e-cigarette aerosols. Most studies to date have used standardized but time-consuming offline technologies. Here a proof-of-concept for a fast online quantification setup based on proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) is presented. Methods The combination of a novel sampling interface with a time-of-flight PTR-MS instrument specially designed for three scenarios is introduced: (i) mainstream aerosol analysis (aerosol that the user inhales prior to exhalation), and analysis of exhaled breath following (ii) mouth-hold (no inhalation) and (iii) inhalation of e-cigarette aerosols. A double-stage dilution setup allows the various concentration ranges in these scenarios to be accessed. Results First, the instrument is calibrated for the three principal constituents of the e-cigarettes' liquids, namely propylene glycol, vegetable glycerol and nicotine. With the double-stage dilution the instrument's dynamic range was easily adapted to cover the concentration ranges obtained in the three scenarios: 20–1100 ppmv for the mainstream aerosol characterisation; 4–300 ppmv for the mouth-hold; and 2 ppbv to 20 ppmv for the inhalation experiment. Conclusions It is demonstrated that the novel setup enables fast, high time resolution e-cigarette studies with online quantification. This enables the analysis and understanding of any puff-by-puff variations in e-cigarette aerosols. Large-scale studies involving a high number of volunteers will benefit from considerably higher sample throughput and shorter data processing times.</p>