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Abstract

Electronic (e-) cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems, are battery-operated devices that are growing in popularity worldwide. Although e-cigarettes are known to be safer than traditional cigarettes, their potential health risks have not been extensively reviewed yet. In this study, aerosol nanoparticles generated from e-cigarette heaters were characterized. Kanthal A1 (iron + chromium + aluminum) coils, without nicotine solution or a wick, were installed in an e-cigarette atomizer. The operating conditions were varied coil resistances (0.1–1.0 Ω), a set applied power (10 W), and a stable duty cycle (50%: 5 s on, 5 s off ). The size distribution and morphology of particles were collected by a scanning mobility particle sizer and evaluated by transmission electron microscopy, respectively. From an applied power of 10 W and a 50% duty cycle, the size and total number concentration (TNC) of particles emitted increased with greater coil resistances. Within these operating conditions, the average TNC of particles generated exhibited a steep decrease during the first 15 minutes of each trial. The TNC of particles decreased over time because surface oxidation (iron oxide layer) prevented further nanoparticle emission. As a result, a used coil may reduce the risk of the metal exposure from e-cigarettes. The results indicate that our designed and tested e-cigarette generation system is useful for future research that aims to investigate the health impacts of metallic particle inhalation on e-cigarette users.

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