Sweeteners in e-liquids: contents much higher than those of confectionery

A relatively unnoticed study by researchers at prestigious Yale University looked precisely at the content of sweeteners (aspartame, sucrose, sucralose) in nicotine delivery devices such as e-cigarettes and snus. The aim was to compare these levels with those of confectionery known to contain relatively large amounts of sweeteners.

Confectionery, like soda, is under close scrutiny by US health authorities, suspected of appealing to a young audience through the abundance of sugar or sweetening agents coupled with aggressive marketing targeting adolescents. The analysis of the American e-liquids examined showed the systematic presence of sweeteners, mainly sucralose, whether or not associated with aspartame.

In addition, the concentration of sweeteners has been found to be 25 times higher than that of confectionery whose content is strictly regulated. In fact, in food, the limit levels of sweeteners are set on the basis of toxicological data and the daily intake of these sweeteners provided by food. Therefore, the authors conclude that the very high levels of sweeteners in e-cigarette liquids could lead to a public health concern, as the toxicity of sweeteners by inhalation and their stability to vaping are not known. The authors suggest that strict regulations be put in place.

High-Intensity Sweeteners in Alternative Tobacco Products. Mia & coll. Nicotine & Tobacco Research Advance Access, May 2016, pp 1-16

© Photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon