New research by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) aims to explore the potential health risks linked to electronic cigarettes and a group of chemicals known for their widespread presence in food, beverages, and various environmental samples globally.

Funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry and spearheaded by Glasgow Caledonian University’s Dr David Phillips, the study aims to investigate whether Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are lurking in e-cigarette e-liquids—and, if so, at what levels. With PFAS already identified as pervasive pollutants in our environment, understanding their presence in e-cigarettes could provide crucial insights into yet another avenue of human exposure.

Dr Phillips, a lecturer in the Department of Applied Science in the School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment, said: “If PFAS are indeed found in e-liquids, it could mean that e-cigarette users are unwittingly exposing themselves to these harmful chemicals. With e-cigarettes increasingly popular among both smokers and non-smokers alike, this discovery could provide vital information for individuals concerned about their health and well-being.”

The current funding for the project spans one year and the findings have the potential to shape public policy, inform regulatory measures, and empower individuals to make informed choices about their health.