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Assessment of Inhalation Toxicity of Essential Oils and Flavors in Tobacco Products

Principal Investigators: Jacob McDonald and Lynn Crosby

Funding Mechanism: Research Contract

ID number: HHSF223201510032I

Award Date: 9/12/2016

Institution: Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute


Essential oils and flavors are complex chemicals that may have the potential to worsen the risks associated with tobacco product use. The inhalation toxicity of these ingredients is often poorly characterized. To better understand the potential respiratory toxicity of essential oils and flavors used in e-cigarettes, researchers will expose normal human bronchial epithelial cells to the aerosols of nine essential oils and nine flavors generated under conditions simulating typical e-cigarette use, with and without co-exposure to nicotine, to evaluate the dose-response of cell toxicity. The 18 essential oils and flavors are buchu leaf oil, cinnamon bark oil, cinnamon leaf oil, lavender oil, orange oil, peppermint oil, sage oil (Spanish), spearmint oil, yiang ylang oil, 4-(p-Hyrdoxyphenyl)-2-butanone, benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, piperonal, diacetyl, ethyl maltol, ethyl vanillin, eugenol, and licorice extract. In addition, researchers will investigate the impact of 10 of these ingredients on oxidative stress, cellular morphology, inflammatory biomarker expression, and potential gene toxicity. The ingredients in the tested aerosols will be characterized using analytical methods such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, and tandem mass spectrometry. This study will identify the respiratory toxicity associated with essential oils and flavors.