Directed Research Project
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are a medium of facilitating drug use that is gaining notoriety in the public eyes. E-cigs were originally designed to be “safer” alternatives to traditional cigarettes, providing the same or similar nicotine dosage without the other side compounds found in tobacco and traditional cigarettes. Typical e-cigs use e-liquids composed of propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG) bases, various flavoring agents, and varying concentrations of nicotine depending on manufacturer or use. With the advent of the growing legalization of cannabis and CBD/THC products in many states and jurisdictions, e-cigs have become a popular medium to ingest these compounds. As a result, and from the increasing prevalence of these products, cases of what has been called electronic-vaping-associated lung injury, otherwise known as EVALI, started being recorded and treated. One component of the cartridges and e-liquids that seemed associated with these cases that put some of the blame upon was Vitamin E acetate, which was thought to be used as a cutting agent instead of THC oil.
The purpose of this study is to quantify the amount of Vitamin E and/or acetate in e-liquids by creating and validating a quantification method for the matrices. Various calibrator concentrations were created through the process; these spanned from as low as 3.9ng to as high as 4.995µg. The calibration range eventually settled on 10ng to 4.995µg. Samples from the LFTR casework which showed Vitamin E and/or Vitamin E acetate when subjected to the LFTR screening method were taken and used to create the case/unknown samples for this study at 1:100 dilutions (10µl sample, 990µl acetonitrile). Only Vitamin E was found in the samples. The concentrations of Vitamin E in the samples were quantified by using the calibration curves and controls. All methodology and samples from the e-liquid aliquots were analyzed and processed on a Shimadzu QP2020 model GC-MS with a secondary GC-2010 GC. These analyzed samples’ aliquots, after dilution, presented concentrations of Vitamin E with concentrations of 0.3 mg/mL to 1.1 mg/mL.
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Is Part Of
VCU Master of Science in Forensic Science Directed Research Projects
Date of Submission
Available for download on Saturday, August 15, 2026