The How and Why of Nicotine Testing

At NextGEN360 we are dedicated to delivering products at the apex of quality. To achieve this, our analytical capabilities have expanded significantly since inception and now form a vital cornerstone of our continued efforts towards providing premium-grade e-liquids, with consistently high quality in every bottle. One of the most important processes carried out in our lab, is that of nicotine analysis. For many consumers, the nicotine strength of an e-liquid is understandably taken at face value. In reality, significant efforts are taken behind the scenes to ensure that you can have total faith in the accuracy of our labels.

So, How Do You Actually Test The Nicotine Concentration In Your E-Liquid?

  • To assess nicotine concentration, we utilise a piece of analytical equipment called a Gas Chromatography – Flame Ionisation Detector, or GC-FID for short.
  • When an e-liquid sample is being tested, the GC section of the device separates out the PG, VG, flavourings and nicotine.
  • These are then individually detected by the FID section of the device, which provides a “peak area” value for each. These values represent their concentration within the e-liquid sample, which allows us to accurately measure them against our established internal standards for approval.
  • In order to determine if the concentration is acceptable, we build carefully controlled samples known as calibration standards. The concentrations for each standard are plotted on a graph, creating what is known as a calibration curve.
  • Using this established curve, we can accurately assess whether an e-liquid’s nicotine concentration falls within the expected limits of its intended strength. Our approved specification allows for 10% deviation in concentration either above or below the target value (+/-10%) – check out our tolerance levels below:
Nicotine LevelTolerance Limit +10%Tolerance Limit -10%
3mg/ml3.3mg/ml2.7mg/ml
6mg/ml6.6mg/ml5.4mg/ml
12mg/ml13.2mg/ml10.8mg/ml
18mg/ml19.8mg/ml16.2mg/ml
*For non-nicotine products, the nicotine level cannot exceed 0.1mg/ml or 0.01% w/v. This is the standard for all non-nicotine products.

As an example: A “12mg” e-liquid sample is run through the GC-FID for nicotine analysis, the peak area for nicotine shown by the FID is equated to 11.6mg/ml – well within the approved +/-10% tolerance levels for a 12mg e-liquid. The sample is logged as a pass and the batch can be approved for sale.

Why Test For Nicotine Concentration?

Testing the nicotine concentration of each batch is a vital part of how we ensure that you can have complete faith in the quality and compliance of our e-liquids. It is a part of the process we enact, that allows our customers to pick up any bottle and have absolute faith that it is entirely safe, labelled accurately and 100% TPD compliant. It is just one of many actions we take as a part of our dedication to industry best-practice and responsible manufacturing.

“Nicotine testing is carried out for all batches produced, to ensure their nicotine concentration is always within the set tolerance range before it can be approved for sale and released to consumers. It is vital to conduct these tests in order to verify that the nicotine levels stated on our packaging are representative of the e-liquid within. Our tolerance levels have been set in accordance with the BSI (British Standards Institute PAS 54115:2015) This allows us to guarantee that our nicotine products are within safe parameters, and that those without nicotine, such as Short-Fill or CBD products do not exceed the maximum concentration of 0.01%w/v. To ensure our continued accuracy in this effort, our analytical equipment is regularly calibrated and our testing methodologies are validated. Nicotine analysis forms just one part of the strict quality control process we enforce at NextGEN, to safeguard our consumers and ensure they have a safe and happy vaping journey.”

– Lizi Jenkins, Head of Technical and Development, NextGEN360

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