A direct method for e-cigarette aerosol sample collection

Pablo Olmedo, Ana Navas-Acien, Catherine Hess, Stephanie Jarmul, Ana Rule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


E-cigarette use is increasing in populations around the world. Recent evidence has shown that the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes can contain a variety of toxicants. Published studies characterizing toxicants in e-cigarette aerosol have relied on filters, impingers or sorbent tubes, which are methods that require diluting or extracting the sample in a solution during collection. We have developed a collection system that directly condenses e-cigarette aerosol samples for chemical and toxicological analyses. The collection system consists of several cut pipette tips connected with short pieces of tubing. The pipette tip-based collection system can be connected to a peristaltic pump, a vacuum pump, or directly to an e-cigarette user for the e-cigarette aerosol to flow through the system. The pipette tip-based system condenses the aerosol produced by the e-cigarette and collects a liquid sample that is ready for analysis without the need of intermediate extraction solutions. We tested a total of 20 e-cigarettes from 5 different brands commercially available in Maryland. The pipette tip-based collection system condensed between 0.23 and 0.53 mL of post-vaped e-liquid after 150 puffs. The proposed method is highly adaptable, can be used during field work and in experimental settings, and allows collecting aerosol samples from a wide variety of e-cigarette devices, yielding a condensate of the likely exact substance that is being delivered to the lungs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental research
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Aerosol
  • E-cigarettes
  • Method
  • Sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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