What do you call a wookiee who uses nicotine? A Chewbacco!

What do you call a wookiee who uses nicotine? A Chewbacco!

The Analysis of Nicotine in Vape Refilling Solutions

By: Lucidity


    The electronic cigarette industry has really taken off within the past two decades. The first commercially successful e-cigarette was created in 2003 by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, as an alternative to conventional smoking. These devices come in nicotine or nicotine free options. Electronic cigarettes have been widely produced in many different flavors, cartridges and vaporizing apparatus. This creates an urgency to accurately measure active compounds in devices and refill containers. It is important to reliably measure the contents of what is not only being purchased, but also inhaled. The Lucidity Team decided to analyze the nicotine content in random vape refill samples. Read along as we display how the Lucidity GC-FID can accurately measure components, such as Nicotine.

Identification and Quantification of Nicotine in Vape Refill

Purpose: To ID and quantitate nicotine in vape refill material.

Experimental Details:

Using the Lucidity GC-FID and Lucidity GAS, analyst detected nicotine in standards and sample.

The following parameters were used for experimentation:

Lucidity GC-FID conditions:

Column – MXT-624, 30m, 0.25 mmID, 1.4 µm

A calibration curve was performed using 100 ppm, 250 ppm, 500 ppm and 1000 ppm of standard nicotine.

  • Nicotine standard was purchased from Restek (catalog number: 34085)

Calibration Curve:

Using the Restek Standard, analyst diluted to specified concentrations with Methanol and injected into the Lucidity GC-FID. Chromatograms below show results analysis of standards. Figure (a) displays an overlay of the different concentrations of the Nicotine Standard. Figure (b) displays a zoomed in overlay chromatogram of standard nicotine peaks.

See Nicotine Standard chromatograms below:

(a) Nicotine Standard Overlay

(b) Zoomed in Standard Overlay of Nicotine Peak

Sample Analysis:

Chromatogram (c) displays sample 1 profile.

Chromatogram (d) displays sample 2 profile.

Chromatogram (e) displays sample 3 profile.

Analyst diluted the sample down using methanol and injected the sample into the Lucidity GC-FID. The sample prep consisted of 100µL of unknown sample diluted to 1000µL using Methanol.

Resulting chromatogram displays a positive ID of Nicotine based on retention time. Using the peak size and quantitating against the known standard concentrations, analyst can then calculate the concentration of the unknown vape samples.

(c) Sample 1 Chromatogram

(d) Sample 2 Chromatogram

(e) Sample 3 Chromatogram

(f) Overlay of Standards and Samples


    All samples positively identified Nicotine per standard retention time. When quantitated against the standards Sample 1 and 2 match the label concentration, but Sample 3 was a bit lower than the label concentration. Upon further inspection the analyst reported potential degradation of Sample 3. All samples were donated by a local tobacco shop for the study. Each sample had previously been opened for an unknown amount of time. Samples 1 and 2 were in amber containers while Sample 3 was not. Sample 3 may have degraded due to pure age/stability or due to light sensitivity (potential combination). Sample 3 has an unknown peak right next to the targeted Nicotine peak, whereas the other samples and standards do not display this peak. It is suspected that the unknown peak is potentially a degradant of the Nicotine itself, thus resulting in lower quantitated concentration, than the label conc.



Label Amount


Measured Amount


Sample 1



Sample 2



Sample 3




          The Lucidity GC-FID was able to successfully identify and quantitate Nicotine within vape refill sources.


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