The Cloud Chasers

From e-cigarettes to emerging heated tobacco products, how safe are electronic nicotine delivery systems? We meet the scientists tasked with exploring the chemical composition of these complex aerosols.

By Charlotte Barker

March 2018

Analyzing Uncertainty

Hugo Destaillats is a Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Indoor Environment Group (USA), where he studies multiple aspects of indoor air quality. The group has studied tobacco smoke for many years, and as the e-cigarette market started to expand in the early 2010s, they turned their attention to the composition of vapor. The uncertainty around the effects of vaping intrigued Destaillats: “Today, everyone agrees that smoking is harmful. With vaping, the evidence is much less clear cut, with scientists and health agencies still debating the health impacts,” he says.

Instrumental in the team’s e-cigarette research was Mohamad Sleiman, now an assistant professor at SIGMA Clermont (France), who has  an interest in developing analytical methods for environmental applications.