Electronic cigarettes: using gas chromatography mass spectrometry analysis on nicotine free electronic cigarette liquids
Sham, Jackie (author)
School of Health Sciences
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Karakilic, Vanessa (Advisor)
Background and Purpose: Electronic cigarettes are gaining vast popularity because the perceived impression about electronic cigarettes is they are a safer alternative to conventional smoking (Belluz, 2015). As a result, more teenagers are switching to electronic cigarettes either as a smoking cessation tool, or for recreational use. However, it is supported by the evidence review that there is nicotine mislabeling between what the manufacturer has labeled and the actual nicotine content in the liquids (Goniewicz et al., 2012). This is a critical health concern for teenagers and recreational users because they are exposed to nicotine, which is a neurotoxin that creates the addiction for smoking. As a result, over a period of time, recreational electronic cigarette users have a higher chance of switching to conventional smoking (Bach, 2015). Hence, the purpose of this research is to determine whether nicotine can be found in nicotine free electronic cigarette liquids Methods: The nicotine content in the electronic cigarette liquids will be determined using Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry. Inferential statistics such as a one tailed t-test will be done using Microsoft Excel and SAS to see if nicotine can be detected in nicotine-free electronic cigarette liquids and if there is a statistically significant difference. Results: The two p-values from the parametric test were 0.2811 and 0.2953. The p-value to reject the null hypothesis was set at 0.05. Because the p-values from the inferential statistics were greater than 0.05, the null hypothesis was not rejected and the actual nicotine content is equal to what the manufacturer had labeled as nicotine free. Discussion: Although the inferential statistics indicated that there was no statistical significance in nicotine concentration, two out of the ten nicotine free electronic cigarette liquids measured nicotine levels above 0 ppm. Conclusion: There was not a significant difference in nicotine concentration found in the electronic cigarette liquids and the actual nicotine concentration is equal to the labeled concentration. However, because the sample size of only ten is too small, there is a potential for type 2 error. Also, the samples came from only two manufacturers. Therefore, the results from this research are not representative for all the electronic cigarette liquids. More research should be conducted to provide scientific evidence to stop recreational electronic cigarette users from the exposure of electronic cigarettes as these could act as a stepping-stone towards smoking conventional cigarettes. Teenagers who start smoking at an early age will be more
© Jackie Sham 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright heron may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphics, electronic, or mechanical including photocopying, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.
Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2016.