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    Despite previous studies indicating the thermal stability of vitamin E acetate (VEA) at low temperatures, VEA has been shown to readily decompose into various degradation products such as alkenes, long-chain alcohols, and carbonyls such as duroquinone (DQ) at vaping temperatures of <200 °C. While most models simulate the thermal decomposition of e-liquids under pyrolysis conditions, numerous factors, including vaping behavior, device construction, and the surrounding environment, may impact the thermal degradation process. In this study, we investigated the role of the presence of molecular oxygen (O2) and transition metals in promoting thermal oxidation of e-liquids, resulting in greater degradation than predicted by pure pyrolysis. Thermal degradation of VEA was performed in inert (N2) and oxidizing atmospheres (clean air) in the absence and presence of Ni-Cr and Cu-Ni alloy nanopowders, metals commonly found in the heating coil and body of e-cigarettes. VEA degradation was analyzed using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). While the presence of O2 was found to significantly enhance the degradation of VEA at both high (356 °C) and low (176 °C) temperatures, the addition of Cu-Ni to oxidizing atmospheres was found to greatly enhance VEA degradation, resulting in the formation of numerous degradation products previously identified in VEA vaping emissions. O2 and Cu-Ni nanopowder together were also found to significantly increase the production of OH radicals, which has implications for e-liquid degradation pathways as well as the potential risk of oxidative damage to biological systems in real-world vaping scenarios. Ultimately, the results presented in this study highlight the importance of oxidation pathways in VEA thermal degradation and may aid in the prediction of thermal degradation products from e-liquids.


    Alexa Canchola, Siri Langmo, Ruth Meletz, Michael Lum, Ying-Hsuan Lin. External Factors Modulating Vaping-Induced Thermal Degradation of Vitamin E Acetate. Chemical research in toxicology. 2023 Jan 16;36(1):83-93

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    PMID: 36534744

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