Volatile organic compounds as breath biomarkers for active and passive smoking.

We found higher peak values of the target chemicals and shorter residence times in the body than previously reported, probably because of the improved time resolution made possible by the continuous breath measurement method

Sydney M Gordon; Lance A Wallace; Marielle C Brinkman; Patrick J Callahan; Donald V Kenny


Scholarcy highlights

  • Tobacco smoke causes lung cancer and has been classified as a group A carcinogen under the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s carcinogen assessment guidelines
  • Attempts to use nicotine or cotinine as biomarkers of dose are sometimes criticized on the grounds that nicotine changes phase from gas to solid as cigarette smoke ages, and it deposits on surfaces at variable rates that depend on local conditions
  • The experiments, which were conducted with five adult smoker/nonsmoker pairs, were designed to measure the uptake and decay in real time of the cigarette-associated target volatile organic compounds in the exhaled breath of each smoker and determine whether exposure to the resulting environmental tobacco smoke was measurable in the breath of the nonsmoker
  • We used the breath analyzer to monitor the levels of the target analytes in the exhaled breath of five active smokers after each individual puff and during the decay period after they finished each cigarette
  • After the final puff from each of the first three cigarettes smoked by each smoker, continuous breath measurements of the decay phase were taken from the smoker for about 15 min while the concentrations of the compounds of interest decreased to concentrations that approached the preexposure levels
  • The peak values obtained in this study for breath benzene are considerably higher than those previously reported in the literature
  • The model predicts that the peak values will be reached after about 12–15 cigarettes have been smoked and that the values will return to baseline after the 8-hr sleep period

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