Section 59
Chapter 58,194

Laboratory Activity for the Determination of Nicotine in Electronic Cigarette Liquids using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

Pagano, T.; Bida, M.R.; Robinson, R.J.

Journal of Laboratory Chemical Education 3(3): 37-43


ISSN/ISBN: 2331-7450
PMID: 26478904
Accession: 058193112

In recent years the prevalence and popularity of electronic cigarettes (ECs) has increased noticeably and a large market for their refillable nicotine solutions (e-liquids) has also rapidly increased. These e-liquids contain nicotine, an addictive and potentially dangerous stimulant, but often the actual nicotine content differs significantly from manufacturers' labelling, due in part to lack of regulation for these products. A laboratory activity for undergraduate students was developed to directly test e-liquids for nicotine content using gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) as a means for teaching the instrumentation to undergraduate students using an authentic, real-world example. The activity introduces and/or re-emphasizes the theory and operation of GC-MS, standard/sample preparation, calibration curves, internal standards, selected ion monitoring mode of MS operation, and method validation. The laboratory experiment is designed for students enrolled in Quantitative Analysis courses (like Analytical Chemistry or Instrumental Analysis), but portions are also suitable for lower level chemistry courses or even those designed for allied health professionals or non-chemistry majors. Given the current popularity of ECs, this activity can provide the chemistry curriculum with a timely, real-world, and contemporary application in which crucial course content is taught. Students can also benefit from the inherent discussion of ECs, regulations, and related social aspects of smoking and EC vaping - which can serve as a secondary learning outcome.

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