Strategies to Reduce Tin and Other Metals in Electronic Cigarette Aerosol.

PLoS ONE. 2015;10(9):e0138933 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0138933


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, XML



Monique Williams
An To
Krassimir Bozhilov
Prue Talbot


Peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Metals are present in electronic cigarette (EC) fluid and aerosol and may present health risks to users.The objective of this study was to measure the amounts of tin, copper, zinc, silver, nickel and chromium in the aerosol from four brands of EC and to identify the sources of these metals by examining the elemental composition of the atomizer components.Four brands of popular EC were dissected and the cartomizers were examined microscopically. Elemental composition of cartomizer components was determined using integrated energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis, and the concentrations of the tin, copper, zinc silver, nickel, and chromium in the aerosol were determined for each brand using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy.All filaments were made of nickel and chromium. Thick wires were copper coated with either tin or silver. Wires were joined to each other by tin solder, brazing, or by brass clamps. High concentrations of tin were detected in the aerosol when tin solder joints were friable. Tin coating on copper wires also contributed to tin in the aerosol.Tin concentrations in EC aerosols varied both within and between brands. Tin in aerosol was reduced by coating the thick wire with silver rather than tin, placing stable tin solder joints outside the atomizing chamber, joining wires with brass clamps or by brazing rather than soldering wires. These data demonstrate the feasibility of removing tin and other unwanted metals from EC aerosol by altering designs and using materials of suitable quality.