Thirty minute-exposure to aged cigarette smoke increases nasal congestion in nonsmokers

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2013;76(10):601-13. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2013.800811.


The aim of this study was to assess the effects of short exposures to experimentally aged cigarette smoke on the nose and upper airways. This crossover study compared the effects of 30-min exposures to (1) experimentally aged cigarette smoke at 1 mg/m³ particulate matter (PM)/14 ppm carbon monoxide (CO) and (2) conditioned filtered air on urinary metabolites of nicotine and tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Subjective nasal symptoms were assessed by questionnaire, objective nasal congestion was assessed by anterior rhinomanometry and nasal nitric oxide (NO) concentrations were determined. Experimentally aged cigarette smoke is a validated model for secondhand smoke (SHS). Twenty-six healthy nonsmokers (10 normal, 7 atopic/nonrhinitic, 7 atopic rhinitic, 2 nonatopic/rhinitic) were studied. A 30-min exposure to SHS increased nasal resistance in healthy nonsmokers. The rise in nasal resistance was most pronounced in rhinitic subjects. Significant increases were not noted when atopic subjects were considered independent of rhinitis status. Secondhand smoke exposure also elevated subjective nasal symptoms and urinary concentrations of metabolites of nicotine (cotinine and trans-3´-hydroxycotinine) and tobacco-specific nitrosamines [(4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL)] in all subgroups of subjects. Exposure-related, subjective nasal symptoms were significantly higher in rhinitic than in normal subjects. Significant changes in nasal NO concentrations were not detected. Data indicate a 30-min exposure to secondhand smoke at 1 mg/m³ PM increases subjective upper respiratory symptoms, increases urinary cotinine and NNAL, and produces objective nasal airflow obstruction in human subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cotinine / analogs & derivatives
  • Cotinine / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Obstruction / chemically induced*
  • Nasal Obstruction / metabolism
  • Nasal Obstruction / pathology
  • Nitric Oxide / analysis
  • Nitrosamines / urine
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects
  • Pyridines / urine
  • Rhinitis / chemically induced*
  • Rhinitis / metabolism
  • Rhinitis / pathology
  • Smoking*
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Nitrosamines
  • Particulate Matter
  • Pyridines
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nitric Oxide
  • 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butan-1-ol
  • Cotinine