Quantification of Flavorants and Nicotine in Waterpipe Tobacco and Mainstream Smoke and Comparison to E-cigarette Aerosol

Paul Anastas, Julie Zimmerman and 7 other contributors

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    Introduction: Waterpipe use remains popular among youth with the availability of flavored shisha tobacco being one of the main drivers of waterpipe use. Although waterpipe mainstream toxicant emissions are well understood, less is known about the carryover of flavorants such as vanillin, benzaldehyde, and eugenol. In this study, flavored waterpipe tobacco was analyzed for flavorants and nicotine, and subsequent carryover to mainstream smoke. Methods: Flavorants vanillin, benzaldehyde, and eugenol, and nicotine were quantified in vanilla-, cherry-, and cinnamon-flavored shisha tobacco by gas chromatography/flame ionization detector and subsequently in waterpipe mainstream smoke generated by a smoking machine. The setup allowed for sampling before and after the water-filtration step. Results: Flavorant and nicotine content in smoke was reduced 3- to 10-fold and 1.4- to 3.1-fold, respectively, due to water filtration. Per-puff content of filtered waterpipe mainstream smoke ranged from 13 to 46 mu g/puff for nicotine and from 6 to 55 mu g/puff for flavorants. Conclusions: Although water filtration reduced flavor and nicotine content in waterpipe mainstream smoke, the detected flavorant concentrations were similar or higher to those previously reported in e-cigarette aerosol. Therefore, users could be drawn to waterpipes due to similar flavor appeal as popular e-cigarette products. Absolute nicotine content of waterpipe smoke was lower than in e-cigarette aerosol, but the differential use patterns of waterpipe (>100 puffs/session) and e-cigarette (mostly <10 puffs/session, multiple session throughout the day) probably result in higher flavorant and nicotine exposure during a waterpipe session. Strategies to reduce youth introduction and exposure to nicotine via waterpipe use may consider similar flavor restrictions as those for e-cigarettes.