I have a feeling that the glycol and glycerine in Ecigs mostly become glucose and water upon combustion, so that glucose is the main element in vape smoke and residue.

What chemicals are most prevalent in Ecig/vape residues?

  • 2
    What has your research yielded so far?
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 4:08
  • I didn't find very much previously, today i found some science documents so I contributed an answer. Commented May 4, 2018 at 9:32
  • @com.prehensible I would also look at reports of heavy metal contamination in the vapor from heating elements.
    – JohnP
    Commented May 6, 2018 at 15:18
  • they don't use heavy metals in Ecig elements for any reputable companies or suable countries... i.e. very seldom because it's asking to be sued. Copper nanoparticles, yes, nickel yes, surgical metals yes, toxic metals, no. I am wary of articles that generalize Ecigs based on the cheapest stuff that can be found in stores, because it encourages wanton sensationalism. Commented May 9, 2018 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


A bit of extra work today has yielded this concerning propylene glycol and glycerine:

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The chemistry of PG and GLY has a studied history. The preparation of GLY in 1779 by Scheele, and his determination that it was susceptible to thermal decomposition during simple distillation, predated even Wöhler’s urea synthesis by half a century. By the mid-19th century, acrolein and acetic acid21 had been identified as products of GLY decomposition. Wurtz synthesized PG in 1859, and determined that it could be oxidized to lactic acid in air in the presence of catalysts. In 1904, Nef provided the foundation for the current understanding of GLY and PG chemistry.


  • The glycerine content in e-liquids here in the UK is Vegetable Glycerine (VG) Does it matter whether it is Vegetable or non-vegetable glycerine? Commented May 4, 2018 at 11:44
  • 1
    Glycerine, also called glycerin or glycerol, is the same thing, same formula, regardless of the source. The difference may be in impurities and additivies in the actual product.
    – Jan
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 13:07
  • Also of interest for further reading: scholar.google.com/…
    – JohnP
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 15:03

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