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The Analysis of Aerosolized Methamphetamine From E-cigarettes Using High Resolution Mass Spectrometry and Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry

NCJ Number
Journal of Analytical Toxicology Volume: 43 Issue: 8 Dated: 2019 Pages: 592-599
Date Published
8 pages

The goal of this study was to qualitatively identify the presence of methamphetamine in the aerosol produced by an e-cig and to quantitatively assess the effect voltage on the concentration of aerosolized methamphetamine.


The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) has expanded from a nicotine delivery system to a general drug delivery system. The internet is rife with websites, blogs and forums informing users how to modify e-cigs to deliver illicit drugs while maintaining optimal drug delivery of their device. In the current study, a KangerTech AeroTank electronic cigarette containing a 30, 60, or 120 mg/mL of methamphetamine in 50:50 propylene glycol: vegetable glycerin formulation was used to produce the aerosol. To qualitatively identify aerosolized methamphetamine, the aerosol was generated at 4.3 V, trapped in a simple glass trapping system, extracted using solid-phase microextraction (SPME), and analyzed by high-resolution Direct Analysis in Real Time AccuTOF™ Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS). To assess the effect of voltage on the concentration of aerosolized methamphetamine, the aerosol was generated at 3.9, 4.3 and 4.7 V, trapped and quantified using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS). SPME-DART-MS and SPME-GC-MS demonstrated the aerosolization of methamphetamine. The concentration of aerosolized methamphetamine at 3.9, 4.3 and 4.7 V was not statistically different at 800 ± 600 ng/mL, 800 ± 600 ng/mL and 1,000 ± 800 ng/mL, respectively. The characterization of the vapors produced from e-liquids containing methamphetamine provides an understanding of the dose delivery dynamics of e-cigarettes. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019