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What’s New in Vapour?

Vaping is an increasingly popular option for adult smokers looking for a reduced risk* alternative to cigarettes, which can offer comparable satisfaction in nicotine delivery, use, and sensorial aspects. The serious health risks associated with cigarettes is one of the main reasons people want satisfying alternatives. That is why BAT is investing in research and development of new or improved products, backed by science, to provide adult smokers with less risky*† alternatives.

BAT has already generated a substantial amount of evidence about the risk profile of its vapour products, including conducting comprehensive analysis of a vapour product aerosol. Continuing the research, scientists recently published two studies in Frontiers of Chemistry, focusing on the aerosols of e-cigarette vapour. The studies continue to support e-cigarettes as less risky* alternatives to cigarettes, as the aerosols contain fewer toxicants.

a group of people smiling with vapes

The first study provided data on the transfer and potential formation of two substances, 2,4-butanedione (known as diacetyl or DA) and 2,3-pentanedione (known as acetyl propionyl or AP). Both have the potential to cause respiratory disease, and have been found in e-liquids and are also used as common food flavourings.

This study showed that any DA or AP present in the e-liquid was transferred to vapour with between 45-88% efficiency, indicating some losses during aerosolisation.  Upon storage under ambient conditions, levels of DA and AP fell by 85% or greater.

Furthermore, this research demonstrated that quantifiable levels of DA were formed from e-liquid base ingredients, vegetable glycerol and propylene glycol, when exposed to heating coil temperatures exceeding 293⁰C and 234⁰C, respectively. Heating of sugars and five-membered furanose compounds was found to generate DA, and should be a consideration for manufacturers when selecting flavour compounds for use in e-liquids.

a tobacco heating product
a scientist squeezing liquid into a test tube

The second study looked at the chemical complexity of e-cigarette aerosols. It concluded

e-cigarette aerosols contain fewer toxic compounds at a significantly lower concentration than cigarette smoke.2

Furthermore, the study found per-puff toxicants from the studied e-cigarettes were 68 >99% lower than those from the reference cigarette.

up to
lower per-puff toxicants in e-cigarettes than those from the reference cigarette

Using a combination of targeted and untargeted chemical analysis techniques, researchers found that e-cigarette aerosols had significantly fewer harmful compounds than cigarette smoke.

Historically, over 6,500 compounds have been identified in cigarette smoke, whilst in this study aerosols from flavoured e-liquids were found to contain between 94 - 139 compounds and an unflavoured e-liquid contained 72 - 79 compounds.

Harmful compounds
Cigarette smoke
Flavoured aerosols
Unflavoured aerosols

Both studies support the potential of the vapour category as a reduced risk* alternative. At BAT, we are committed to building A Better Tomorrow™ by reducing the health impact of our business. Innovation based on robust science and Tobacco Harm Reduction is a key part of our transformation journey with the potential to positively impact public health.

a woman smiling

1. McAdam K et al. (2021) Diacetyls and other ketones in e-cigarette aerosols: some important sources and contributing factors. Frontiers in Chemistry 9:742538. doi: 10.3389/fchem.2021.742538.

2. Margham J et al (2021) The chemical complexity of e-cigarette aerosols compared with the smoke from a tobacco burning cigarette. Frontiers in Chemistry 9:743060. doi: 10.3389/fchem.2021.743060.

* Based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking. These products are not risk free and are addictive.

† Our products as sold in the US, including Vuse, Velo, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Camel Snus, are subject to FDA regulation and no reduced-risk claims will be made as to these products without agency clearance.