E-Liquid Accuracy And the Need For Testing

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During the 2012 TMA, we saw a number of labs presenting on their capabilities for testing different modified risk tobacco products or MRTPs for purity. In our minds, the goal of these were to provide companies with a way to move forward in the process of self regulation and likely an effort to do something reasonable in the face of the unreasonable MRTP provisions currently provided by FDA.

Much to our surprise and interest, some of these labs were particularly geared towards electronic cigarettes and e-liquids. One of these was Enthalpy Analytical, a lab which has plenty of experience in tobacco products and likely more in e-liquids than any other lab presenting at TMA. They’ve also partnered with the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association to provide testing for their members. Following those presentations, we sat down with Dr. Gene Gillman of Enthalpy to discuss what he had to present at TMA and what his company was offering:

For those who would like to take a closer look at Enthalphy’s presentation including the market survey of 12 e-liquid vendors, you can view it here. It does provide some interesting information on their testing of e-cigarettes using a puff method and the other sets of issues specific to testing e-cigarette products, rather than just e-liquid.

While many of the samples testing with nicotine levels below label, the fact remains that inaccuracy is still disconcerting (especially to regulatory bodies) even if its on the safe side. And on the other side, a number of samples tested above label, which is of course more problematic. All of the samples from “vendor 12” tested above label, which speaks to the clear difference in quality control from vendor to vendor.

Truly, I do not mean for this post to come off as fear mongering, panic-inducing or obsessive over the details. Rather, I think what Dr. Gillman presented at TMA is a scientific representation of an extremely valid point: Without testing, we can never really be certain of what we are vaping.

To be honest, I was astounded to find out that testing for nicotine levels was this easy- that there were these affordable, willing and ready avenues to begin testing was incredible.

I’ve never mixed e-liquid, nor have I been involved in the e-liquid business. I don’t know the first thing about it. But I have a very strong feeling that if we expect reasonable regulation for this thing we love, we have to be reasonable ourselves.

What are your thoughts on e-liquid testing? How necessary do you think it is right now, and in the face of regulatory bodies? Let us know in the comments below!

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