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Carbon monoxide concentration in mainstream E-cigarette emissions measured with diode laser spectroscopy
  1. Rileigh Casebolt1,
  2. S Jewel Cook1,
  3. Ana Islas2,
  4. Alyssa Brown1,
  5. Karen Castle2,
  6. Dabrina D Dutcher1,2
  1. 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2Department of Chemistry, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dabrina D Dutcher, Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA; Ddd014{at}


The e-fluid heated in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is largely composed of organic compounds, specifically propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and flavouring compounds. When heated, as it is in an e-cigarette, the chemical species in this fluid have the potential to oxidise into carbon monoxide (CO) and other species. Using diode laser spectroscopy, the concentration of CO in e-cigarette mainstream effluent as a function of e-cigarette power and flavour was measured. Carbon monoxide concentration was found to be a direct function of the power of the resistive heating. At the highest powers testable using commercial e-cigarette components, the maximum CO concentration measured was over 180 ppm. The flavouring compounds in the e-fluid also had an effect on the concentration of carbon monoxide present in the effluent.

  • electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • global health
  • harm reduction
  • priority/special populations

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  • Contributors RC, SJC, AI and AB all contributed to the planning and execution of the experiments. KC and DDD oversaw the experiments and did the reporting.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.