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UP Student Awarded Montana Academy of Sciences Grant

UP student, Makayla Cook applied for an undergraduate research grant from the Montana Academy of Sciences (MAS) and received $340 in grant funding for her research titled “Electronic Cigarettes vs. Conventional Cigarettes”. Each spring, MAS awards four grants for Montana undergraduates of up to $750 each. She will present her research findings at the MAS conference in April 2020 in Butte, Montana.

Abstract: Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are perceived to be safer than conventional cigarettes due to the elimination of tar and more appealing flavor options. Diacetyl-2,3-pentanedione and acetoin are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) when used in flavors for food, such as butter, caramel, and strawberry (Allen J.G. et al. 2016). However, when these flavoring chemicals are used in e-cigarettes they are vaporized and inhaled. The vaporized state of these chemicals is associated to the disease bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as popcorn lung (Allen J.G. et al. 2016). Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) the chemical analysis of e-liquid can be conducted. This research looks at the chemicals present in e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes. Specifically, flavoring chemicals diacetyl-2,3-pentanedoine and acetoin in e-cigarettes and nicotine and tar in conventional cigarettes. An analysis of these chemicals will provide better understanding of what is in e-cigarettes liquids. Three brands of e-cigarettes e-liquids and array of flavors with nicotine present and nicotine free varieties will be used and compared to the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. If used correctly, an e-cigarette can help an individual become less dependent on conventional cigarettes; however, it can be abused and harmful. E-cigarettes are capable to lead to a nicotine addiction by causing non-smokers and younger individuals to begin this habit.