A wide array of alternative nicotine delivery devices (ANDD) has been developed and they are often described as less harmful than combustible cigarettes. This work compares the chemical emissions of three ANDD in comparison to cigarette smoke. All the tested ANDD are characterized by not involving combustion of tobacco.

Aims and Methods

Single-photon ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SPI-TOFMS) is coupled to a linear smoking machine, which allows a comprehensive, online analysis of the gaseous phase of the ANDD aerosol and the conventional cigarette (CC) smoke. The following devices were investigated in this study: a tobacco cigarette with a glowing piece of coal as a heating source, an electric device for heating tobacco, and a first-generation electronic cigarette. Data obtained from a standard 2R4F research cigarette are taken as a reference.


The puff-by-puff profile of all products was recorded. The ANDD show a substantial reduction or complete absence of known harmful and potentially harmful substances compared with the CC. In addition, tar substances (i.e. semivolatile and low volatile aromatic and phenolic compounds) are formed to a much lower extent. Nicotine, however, is supplied in comparable amounts except for the investigated electronic cigarette. Conclusions The data show that consumers switching from CC to ANDD are exposed to lower concentrations of harmful and potentially harmful substances. However, toxicological and epidemiological studies must deliver conclusive results if these reduced exposures are beneficial for users. Implications The comparison of puff-resolved profiles of emissions from different tobacco products, traditional and alternative, may help users switch to lower emission products. Puff-resolved comparison overcomes technical changes, use modes between products and may help in their regulation.