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0:00 - Intro with Joanna Junak
0:28 - Dr Roberto Sussman discusses his recent review looking at e-cigarette safety studies
10:13 - The impact of improper e-cigarette testing on toxicity data
13:21 - What can be done to improve e-cigarette safety research?


Joanna: Hello and welcome. I'm Joanna Junak and this is GFN News on GFN TV. In today's program, we are inviting you for the second part of the interview with Roberto Sussman on the latest study on metal contacts in e-cigarette aerosol. Thank you, Roberto, for joining us today. First, can you tell us how you test for toxic chemical compounds in e-cigarettes?

Roberto: Well, yeah, first of all, we have to understand that what we are testing is what the user would be inhaling, right, from an electronic cigarette. But we cannot put a detector or an instrument inside of the mouth of the user, right? It's not possible. So this has to be done with the machines. That has to be a machine that will do it. It will not enter the person's body. And this is the way that also cigarettes, tobacco cigarettes are tested. They are tested with machines. There are special machines. What the machine does is the machine withdraws. You put, for example, the cigarette or the ecigarette, and you place it. And then a pump will grow, whatever, tobacco or the aerosol of the ecigarette. And then once it is withdrawn, it will pass through a series of tools or syringes or in fingers or whatever, and it will go to analytic instrument. Typically, it would be a mass spectrometry. So you need the machines. Now, the way these machines are programmed has to mimic the best as possible human usage of the device, right? It cannot reverse us completely because these machines have to do it in a standardized way, in a regimented way. They have to withdraw one part after. It cannot be done with one part only. It has to be with several bars because not path is identical to the next. So you have to do some statistics, right? And you have to program these machines so that they do this regimented puffing as best as possible, replicating or imitating the human conduct. Right? Now, this is the way it is done, more or less, but it was already done long time ago for cigarettes. Now, electronic cigarettes come to the market around 2010, 2011. The models that came were the so called cigalikes. You can see the cigalike. There's another one here. They are like metallic tobacco cigarettes. They work in a very similar way to tobacco cigarettes. So the tobacco industry already had a standard to test cigarettes and they adopted this standard in what is called the CORESTA protocol. It's an adaptation of tobacco cigarettes to test the early electronic cigarettes. Right? And it's a very elaborate protocol. And you would be surprised to know that this protocol and minor variations of what I mean by protocol, you have to determine the duration of the path, the frequency, one path, and then half a minute, and then the next one, and so on and so on. And you also have to determine an airflow, how many milliliters per second you are going to draw, and also the volume of the material that you are going to draw. These bugging parameters are essential and you have to program them, right? And so they were appropriate, all these parameters for tobacco, cigarettes, not perfect, but they were okay. And also for the cigalikes. Now, if you are using something like this, to use this monster, you need a lot of air flow and a big volume, right? And also, people in real life, you don't clock every 5 seconds or every 10 seconds. You might do that for a short interval, but then normal rating in humans has a longer interval, right? So what happens is that this standard has not evolved. People are still testing all models, including big powerful mods, in the same way as they test these things. Or maybe you can have like this one, you say modern this one and this one, these are modern bots. And then you also have tank devices. I don't have one at hand. Small tank devices that can also say this one, it's a tank device, but it can still be tested with the correct or similar protocol, but not the big ones. Now, why? Because we have to see how human vapors vape. Right? And there are two main styles. When you are people who started vaping in the early days with these devices, they did it more or less in a similar way as a cigarette, because most of the vapors are former smokers or even natural smokers. So these devices, you vape them in a similar way as a cigarette. That is, you inhale you have a retention of the material in your mouth cavity and then you inhale it to the lung, right? This is called the mouth to lung style and does not require large airflows or large volumes. And this is the way that more or less like cigarettes or smoke and low power devices are also gate like this. Now, this is one style, but as electronic cigarettes became very diverse with lots of models, and vapors started using more powerful models, like this one is already an intermediate one and this one is a very powerful one. But you do not date them in the same way as you date the other ones because people wanted to enjoy larger aerosols to produce more clouds, right? And so it's another style. The way these devices are used is through the so called direct to lung style, you withdraw an enormous amount of fluid, it is really air mixed with the aerosol and goes directly to the lung. And then it is exhale. Right? But we are talking in the case of this one, you are inhaling more or less like 50 liters here you can be inhaling like ten times more like half a liter of haloson in a tidal volume of about 1.5 or two liters, right? It is a completely different story, right. So you cannot do a you cannot program your machines to test an object like a device like this that can work with up to 230 watts. It's a very powerful device. See, you cannot test them the way you test something like this. If you do, you are going to get very misleading resorts that have no connection with the real way that people hate, and it will produce an overestimation of toxic quantities. And that can also be explained, right? So what we need is an improved standard. See, most of the studies use the chorestals or variations, small variations of the choresta, but are insufficient. You need to program the machines so that they will pump, will withdraw large amounts of airsold, right? And you have to program the machines and test them appropriately. But you have to do a standard because there are so many devices, there are so many tests. You cannot have everybody choosing the parameters. You need a standard. We need a new standard for testing electronic cigarettes in the laboratory.

Joanna: you mentioned that improper testing methods may not correctly determine the toxicity in ecigarette vapor. What issues might arise when these improper testing metals are used?

Roberto: Because what happens is that the electronic seal is inhaled. But the way the aerosol is created, you take the liquid and you have to heat the liquid. And when you hit the liquid, even though the temperatures are much smaller than combustion, temperatures are between 100 and 7180 degrees to 200 and 6270 degrees. Because the range of temperatures and the liquid, the components of the liquid will have some chemical reactions, reactions, typically oxidizing reactions or dehydratizing reactions that will generate byproducts. And if you test them correctly, then this byproducts will be in minute quantity, straight levels, maybe one to 10,000 times the mass of the arrows. Really tiny, tiny and below the toxicological markets. But if you test unappropriately with the wrong public parameters, like the example I was saying, you test this monster with the same parameters that you test this one, then it's a disaster. And why it's a disaster, I explained very quickly, because this monster has a lot of power. Power is energy per time, right? So it will supply an enormous amount of energy to heat the coil, right? And this will evaporize a lot of in liquid, right? But you need to take out this vapor in order to condense it and form the aerosol. But if your airflow is too small, you are not going to be able to evacuate efficiently this vapor. And as a profit goes on and on and on, the atomizer gets very hot, right? And of course, if it gets very hot, a lot of toxicants will be produced organic and inorganic. The metals are inorganic. And this is what we found that studies do. They report a lot of metals, huge, dangerous levels. But this comes from very unrealistic and misleading forms of testing. And to avoid that, we need a new testing standard. And this is, we hope that our paper will motivate that how can experimental methods be changed so that this test becomes more realistic? Yeah, look, it's never going to be perfect because it's laboratory testing will never equal. It is never going to reproduce human experience, but has to approximate it. And once you approximate it, you can get an estimation of the amount of toxicity. It is a rough estimation, but it is good if the testing is done correctly, it's a good estimation of the amount of toxicity that enters the body. Right, and it can be done. But also, something I wanted to mention before I forget, is that these products, electronic cigarettes, the aim of these products are for a human user. Right. So in the testing, you should in fact, you must incorporate human volunteers to sample the aerosol that you are generating. Because what's the use of doing a test, a laboratory test that will generate an aerosol that would be repulsive or too hot or unpleasant for the users. So you need human users to be assisting you, to tell you and all the studies that you find. They don't do that. They simply take their machines and put them because if the aerosol is horrible for a human, it's not going to be horrible for the machine. The machine will be working. So you need human assessment and that should be part of the upgraded and updated standard for laboratory testing, human participation. Joanna: Thank you, Roberto. That's all for today. Tune in next time here on GFN.TV or on our new podcast for more tobacco harm reduction updates. And on Tuesday, we are inviting you for the next part of GFN Voices, capturing the views and opinions of people who attended the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw this June. Thanks for watching and listening. See you next time.