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Potential for release of pulmonary toxic ketene from vaping pyrolysis of vitamin E acetate.

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-10-15, 08:42 authored by Dan WuDan Wu, Donal O'SheaDonal O'Shea
A combined analytical, theoretical, and experimental study has shown that the vaping of vitamin E acetate has the potential to produce exceptionally toxic ketene gas, which may be a contributing factor to the upsurge in pulmonary injuries associated with using e-cigarette/vaping products. Additionally, the pyrolysis of vitamin E acetate also produces carcinogen alkenes and benzene for which the negative long-term medical effects are well recognized. As temperatures reached in vaping devices can be equivalent to a laboratory pyrolysis apparatus, the potential for unexpected chemistries to take place on individual components within a vape mixture is high. Educational programs to inform of the danger are now required, as public perception has grown that vaping is not harmful.


Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre


Associated research data files

Data are also available from: https://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2020/03/09/1920925117.DCSupplemental


The original article is available at www.pnas.org Pre-prints are available on ChemRxiv https://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv.10058168.v1 and https://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv.10058168.v2 and on RCSI repository https://hdl.handle.net/10779/rcsi.16997956.v1 (version 1) and https://hdl.handle.net/10779/rcsi.16997935.v1 (version 2)

Published Citation

Wu D, O'Shea D. Potential for release of pulmonary toxic ketene from vaping pyrolysis of vitamin E acetate. PNAS. 2020; 117(12): 6349:6355

Publication Date

24 March 2020

PubMed ID



  • Chemistry


National Academy of Sciences


  • Published Version (Version of Record)