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Comparison of design characteristics and toxicant emissions from Vuse Solo and Alto electronic nicotine delivery systems
  1. Soha Talih1,2,
  2. Nareg Karaoghlanian1,2,
  3. Rola Salman1,2,
  4. Sacha Fallah2,3,
  5. Alissa Helal1,
  6. Rachel El-Hage2,3,
  7. Najat Saliba2,3,
  8. Alison Breland2,
  9. Thomas Eissenberg2,
  10. Alan Shihadeh1,2
  1. 1Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
  2. 2Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
  3. 3Chemistry, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
  1. Correspondence to Professor Alan Shihadeh, Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Beirut 1202, Lebanon; as20{at}


Introduction Vuse Solo is the first electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration for marketing in the USA. Salient features of the Vuse Solo product such as nicotine form, draw resistance, power regulation and electrical characteristics have not been reported previously, and few studies have examined the nicotine and other toxicant emissions of this product. We investigated the design characteristics and toxicant emissions of the Solo as well as Alto, another Vuse product with a greater market share than Solo.

Methods Total/freebase nicotine, propylene glycol to vegetable glycerin ratio, carbonyl compounds (CC) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were quantified by gas chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography and fluorescence from aerosol emissions generated in 15 puffs of 4 s duration. The electric power control system was also analysed.

Results The average power delivered was 2.1 W and 3.9 W for Solo and Alto; neither system was temperature-controlled. Vuse Solo and Alto, respectively, emitted nicotine at a rate of 38 µg/s and 115 µg/s, predominantly in the protonated form (>90%). Alto’s ROS yield was similar to a combustible cigarette and one order of magnitude greater than that of Solo. Total carbonyls from both products were two orders of magnitude lower than combustible cigarettes.

Conclusion Vuse Solo is an above-Ohm ENDS that emits approximately one-third the nicotine flux of a Marlboro Red cigarette (129 µg/s) and considerably lower CC and ROS yields than a combustible cigarette. With its higher power, the nicotine flux and ROS yield from Alto are similar to Marlboro Red levels; Alto may thus present greater abuse liability than the lower sales-volume Solo.

  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • nicotine
  • toxicology

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  • Contributors Conception: ST, NK, RS, SF, EH, REH, NS, AB, TE, AS; acquisition and interpretation of data: ST, NK, RS, SF, EH, REH, AS; drafting the work: ST, NK, RS, SF, EH, REH, NS, AB, TE, AS; revising the work: ST, NK, RS, SF, EH, REH, NS, AB, TE, AS.

  • Funding This research is supported by Grant Number U54DA036105 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Tobacco Products of the US Food and Drug Administration. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the NIH or the FDA.

  • Competing interests AS and TE are paid consultants in litigation against the tobacco industry and also the ENDS industry and are named on one patent for a device that measures the puffing behaviour of ENDS users and on a patent application for a smoking cessation intervention. TE is also named on another patent application for a smartphone app that determines ENDS device and liquid characteristics.

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

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.