High Levels of Synthetic Coolants in E-Cigarettes May Exceed Safety Thresholds


Jordt SE, et al. 503 – Synthetic Coolants in Electronic Cigarette Refill Liquids Marketed in the United States and Disposable Electronic Cigarettes: Chemical Analysis and Risk Assessment. Presented at: American Thoracic Society International Conference; May 13-18, 2022; San Francisco (hybrid meeting).

Disclosures: This study was funded by the FDA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Jordt does not report any relevant financial information.

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SAN FRANCISCO — In a new study, researchers have detected the presence of synthetic cooling agents in electronic cigarettes marketed in the United States, at levels that may exceed current safety thresholds.

In late April, the FDA proposed new rules banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

Source: Adobe Stock.

“We were concerned that menthol and synthetic compounds or artificial compounds similar to menthol might also be present in e-cigarettes,” Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD, associate professor of anesthesiology and associate professor of pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University School of Medicine, Healio said at the American Thoracic Society International Conference. “These compounds have the same cooling effect as menthol. We wanted to see what the levels were, how much was added to e-cigarettes, and if there might be any concerns about the toxicity of these compounds. Their use in food is permitted, but we don’t know their safety when you inhale them in tobacco products. Some international regulatory organizations have published threshold values ​​for raising toxicity concerns.

According to Jordt, e-cigarette makers use these compounds to create a cooling effect to reduce unpleasant sensations and allow users to inhale more nicotine.

Jordt and colleagues searched e-liquid supplier sites for the terms “koolada”, “kool/cool”, “ice” and looked to see if the companies were selling products with the specific WS-3 synthetic cooling agents. and WS-23. Researchers compared ice-flavored varieties of today’s most popular disposable e-cigarette brand, Puff Bar, and non-ice varieties.

Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, Jordt and colleagues characterized e-liquids and synthetic cooling agents and calculated the margin of exposure to determine the risks associated with exposure. synthetic cooling agents associated with the use of electronic cigarettes. A margin of exposure of 100 means that user exposure is 100 times below levels known to cause toxic effects in animal organs. Scientists who study potentially harmful substances are aware that a margin of exposure below 100 indicates an increased risk, according to a press release.

The synthetic cooling agent WS-3 was identified in 24 of the 25 e-liquid refills. Additionally, 13 of the 14 varieties of Puff Bar disposable e-liquid flavors contained the synthetic cooling agent WS-23 and five also contained WS-3 in ice and non-ice flavors.

Researchers observed a margin of exposure below the margin of safety of 100 or more for most daily vaping levels in the WS-3 consumption modeling of vaped e-liquids with 3ml in 14 e-liquids , 5ml in 18 and 10ml in 20. In 11 of the 13 Puff Bar products, the margin of exposure to WS-23 was less than 100 in all e-cigarette use scenarios.

“That should raise concerns for regulators, such as the FDA, to look into this and limit the amount of these components to add to these products,” Jordt said. “It is still a market with very little oversight from government regulators and many of the chemicals in it are of concern, may be toxic and levels are higher than what would be allowed in food. “

These synthetic cooling agents have been found in mint, menthol, fruit and candy flavored e-cigarette products.

“Our results confirm that the cigarette industry ignores the safety levels of the chemicals they add to their products to make them more addictive,” Jordt said. “They constantly evade regulation, and the FDA is struggling to catch up, and people need to be careful using these products and getting addicted to them.”

For more information:

Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD, can be contacted at [email protected]



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