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E-Cigarette regulations are now law – are you complying?

Friday, 8 July 2016 at 2:09:PM

E-Cigarette regulations now law

What’s in that vapour? Regulators in the EU and US want to​ know, and the clock is ticking for e-cigarette manufacturers to provide data on​ the chemical constituents of their products, in order to comply with the requirements of new regulations.

New regulations

In the EU, all ‘nicotine-containing e-liquid products’ fall under the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). If you download the PDF (link availble from our application note) and skip to Article 20(2) on page L 127/26, you’ll see the requirement to provide “a list of all ingredients contained in, and emissions resulting from the use of, the product, by brand name and type, including quantities thereof”.

Draft guidance on complying with this in the UK is available on the UK government’s website, and (at least for the time being) there is a minimum requirement to supply details of emissions of nicotine and a short list of harmful compounds that are commonly found in e-cigarette vapour.

In the US (and also in May 2016), the Food and Drug Administration extended its authority over regulation of tobacco products to include ‘electronic nicotine delivery systems’ such as e-cigarettes.

The upshot of this is that manufacturers will have to submit (amongst other information) information on 93 “harmful and potentially harmful constituents” that might be present in either the liquid or the resulting vapour.

Analysis of e-cigarette vapour

Both the above regulations require chemical analysis of e-liquids and vapours to identify their chemical constituents. At Markes, we’ve been focusing on the challenges of vapour-phase analysis, using gas chromatography (GC) with mass spectrometry (MS), which is the tried-and-tested approach for air and materials testing.

However, analysis of e-cigarette vapour​ is slightly tricky because of the potential for interference from the high levels of propylene glycol and glycerol​ that are present. Despite this, by using thermal desorption (TD) in conjunction with GC–MS we’ve been able to optimise the conditions to maximise the sensitivity for the lower-level fragrance/aroma compounds, as well as being able to monitor higher-level constituents such as nicotine and menthol. This is exactly the sort of ​data that regulators will want to know… and of course the same information could also be valuable for product quality control.

Interested in finding out more?

Click here to download our Application Note on rapid chemical profiling of e-cigarette vapour, and to see how we might be able to help you comply with the requirements of these new regulations. (You can find links to all the documents mentioned above in this Application Note).

David Barden


David BardenDavid Barden received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Cambridge University in 2004, and during his time as an editor at the RSC wrote news pieces for Chemistry World on various scientific topics. He is now Technical Copywriter at Markes International, where he draws on the expertise of his colleagues to explain how new thermal desorption and mass spectrometry technologies can be applied to analyse volatile organic compounds in a wide variety of situations.


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