Analysis of exhaled breath from smokers, passive smokers and non-smokers by solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography/mass spectrometry

Biomed Chromatogr. 2009 May;23(5):551-6. doi: 10.1002/bmc.1141.


In this study, 38 samples of expired air were collected and analyzed from 20 non-smoking volunteers, four passive smokers and 14 smokers (21 women and 17 men). Measurements were carried out using solid-phase microextraction (SPME) as an isolation and preconcentration technique. The determination and identification were accomplished by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Our data showed that ca 32% of all identified compounds in the breath of healthy non-smokers were saturated hydrocarbons. In the breath of smoking and passive smoking volunteers hydrocarbons were predominant, but also present were more exogenous analytes such as furan, acetonitrile and benzene than in the breath of non-smokers. Acetonitrile, furan, 3-methylfuran, 2,5-dimethylfuran, 2-butanone, octane and decane were identified in breath of smoking and passive smoking persons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetonitriles / analysis
  • Breath Tests / methods*
  • Butanones / analysis
  • Female
  • Furans / analysis
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smoking*
  • Solid Phase Microextraction / methods*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis


  • Acetonitriles
  • Butanones
  • Furans
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • methylethyl ketone
  • acetonitrile