Investigation, by single photon ionisation (SPI)-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS), of the effect of different cigarette-lighting devices on the chemical composition of the first cigarette puff

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2007 Jan;387(2):575-84. doi: 10.1007/s00216-006-0945-9. Epub 2006 Dec 14.


Soft single-photon ionisation (SPI)-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) has been used to investigate the effect of different cigarette-lighting devices on the chemical composition of the mainstream smoke from the first cigarette puff. Lighting devices examined were a Borgwaldt electric lighter, a propane/butane gas lighter, a match, a candle, and the burning zone of another cigarette. To eliminate the effects of the different masses of tobacco burnt by use of the different lighting methods a normalisation procedure was performed which enabled investigation of changes in the chemical patterns of the resulting smoke. When another cigarette was used as the lighting device, elevated levels of ammonia and other nitrogen-containing substances were observed. These are high in the sidestream smoke of the cigarette used for lighting and would be drawn into the mainstream smoke of the cigarette being lit. In contrast, smoke from the cigarette lit by the electric lighter contained slightly higher normalised amounts of isoprene. Lighting the cigarette by use of a candle resulted in larger amounts of substances, e.g. benzene, which most probably originated from thermal decomposition of wax. The composition of the first puff of smoke obtained by use of the three lighting methods with open flames (gas lighter, match, and candle) was usually similar whereas the composition of the smoke produced by use of the electric lighter and the cigarette as the lighter were more unique. The chemical patterns generated by the different lighting devices could, however, be separated by principal-component analyses. Two additional test series were also studied. In the first the cigarette was lit with an electric lighter, then extinguished, the ash was cut off, and the cigarette was re-lit. In the second the cigarette was heated in an oven to 80 degrees C for 5 min before being lit. These treatments did not result in changes in the chemical composition compared with cigarettes lit in the ordinary way.

MeSH terms

  • Ammonia
  • Benzene
  • Hot Temperature
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco*


  • Smoke
  • Ammonia
  • Benzene