Are glass fiber particles released during the use of electronic cigarettes? Development of a semi-quantitative approach to detect glass particle emission due to vaping

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Abstract

This study investigated the emission characteristics of glass particles resulting from smoking electronic cigarettes (ECs). First, the most suitable filter for the collection of glass particles was explored by examining the performance (reliability) of various types of filters. A polycarbonate filter was determined as the optimum choice to collect glass particles in EC aerosol. A cartomizer was filled with EC refill solution composed of an equal volume of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycol (VG). To simulate the potential conditions for glass particle emission, EC vaped aerosols were collected at three distinctive puffing intervals: (1) 0–10 puffs, (2) 101–110 puffs, and (3) 201–210 puffs (flow rate of 1 L min−1, 2 s per puff, and 10 puffs per sample). Glass particles were observed as early as after 100 times puffing from certain products, while after 200 from others. Thus, glass particles were generated by increasing the number of puffs and usage of the EC cartomizer. The analysis of glass particles collected onto polycarbonate filters by scanning electron microscopy (SEM)/energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) confirmed the presence of glass particles in samples collected after puffing 100–200 times. The study demonstrated that the possibility of glass particle emissions from the EC device increased considerably with the increasing number of total puffs.

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