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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Disposable electronic cigarettes and electronic hookahs: Evaluation of performance

  • Author(s): Williams, M
  • Ghai, S
  • Talbot, P
  • et al.

© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. All rights reserved. Introduction: The purpose of this study was to characterize the performance of disposable buttonactivated and disposable airflow-activated electronic cigarettes (EC) and electronic hookahs (EH). Methods: The airflow rate required to produce aerosol, pressure drop, and the aerosol absorbance at 420 nm were measured during smoke-outs of 9 disposable products. Three units of each product were tested in these experiments. Results: The airflow rates required to produce aerosol and the aerosol absorbances were lower for button-activated models (3 mL/s; 0.41-0.55 absorbance) than for airflow-activated models (7-17 mL/s; 0.48-0.84 absorbance). Pressure drop was also lower across button-activated products (range = 6-12 mm H2O) than airflow-activated products (range = 15-67 mm H2O). For 25 of 27 units tested, airflow did not have to be increased during smoke-out to maintain aerosol production, unlike earlier generation models. Two brands had uniform performance characteristics for all parameters, while 3 had at least 1 product that did not function normally. While button-activated models lasted 200 puffs or less and EH airflow-activated models often lasted 400 puffs, none of the models produced as many puffs as advertised. Puff number was limited by battery life, which was shorter in button-activated models. Conclusion: The performance of disposable products was differentiated mainly by the way the aerosol was produced (button vs airflow-activated) rather than by product type (EC vs EH). Users needed to take harder drags on airflow-activated models. Performance varied within models, and battery life limited the number of puffs. Data suggest quality control in manufacturing varies among brands.

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