search for



Cross mark




View (221) Download (1188) CrossRef (2)
Pilot Study on the Determination of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Exhaled Breath of Each Cigarette Type
J Korean Soc Res Nicotine Tob 2021; 12(1): 24-33
Published online June 15, 2021
© 2021 The Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Young Hwan Cho1, Hyoung Yong Kim2, Jeom Kyu Lee2, Seung Hyun Kim2*

1Division of Health Hazard Response, Director General for Health Hazard Response, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, 2Division of Allergy and Respiratory Disease Research, Department of Chronic Disease Convergence Research, National Institute of Health, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Cheongju, Korea
Correspondence to: 源듅쁽
샇씉湲걔룹븣젅瑜닿린吏덊솚뿰援ш낵, 留뚯꽦吏덊솚쑖蹂듯빀뿰援щ, 援由쎈낫嫄댁뿰援ъ썝, 吏덈퀝愿由ъ껌
Received April 16, 2021; Revised June 6, 2021; Accepted June 8, 2021.
This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, dis-tribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: Since the indoor environments where most modern people live have little space, there is a possibility of exposure to harmful components of smokers breaths. Thus, it is necessary to investigate the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can affect secondhand smoking by analyzing the components of exhaled smoke.
Methods: From August 2019 to March 2020, 30 smokers and 10 nonsmokers were recruited in the Osong Life Science Complex. For exhaled breath collection, a tedlar bag (1 L) for breath-gas analysis was used. Carbon monoxide (CO) was measured during the collection, and VOCs were analyzed by thermal desorption-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry after pretreatment.
Results: According to exhaled breath analysis, pyridine, 2-methylfuran, and benzene were detected at a high frequency only in smokers, whereas 2-methylfuran and pyridine were detected in all cigarette and heated tobacco product (HTP) users. The amounts of 2-methylfuran, benzene, isoprene, pyridine, toluene, and pyrrole in exhaled breaths after smoking were significantly greater than in those before smoking. Based on the measured CO, it was difficult to distinguish nonsmokers, HTP users, and electronic cigarette users.
Conclusion: These results demonstrated that 2-methylfuran and pyridine can possibly be used as indicators of smoking status. In addition, secondhand smoking can potentially be evaluated by detecting the VOCs in the exhaled breaths of HTP users. However, further studies on these compounds are warranted to confirm this possibility.
Keywords : Indoor air quality; Secondhand smoking; Tobacco product; Exhalations; Volatile organic compounds
  1. Rammamurthi D, Chau C, Jackler RK. JUUL and other stealth vaporisers: hiding the habit from parents and teachers. Tob Control. 2019; 28: 610-6.
  2. Sureda X, Fernandez E, Lopez MJ, Nebot M. Secondhand Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Open and Semi-Open Settings: A Systematic Review. Environ. Health Perspect. 2013; 121(7): 766-73.
  3. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2006.
  4. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2014.
  5. Hwang J, Lee K. Determination of Outdoor Tobacco Smoke Exposure by Distance From a Smoking Source. Nicotine Tob. Res. 2014; 16(4): 478-84.
  6. Fu M, Fernandez E, Martinez-Sanchez JM, Emeterio NS, Quiros N, Sureda X, et al. Second-hand smoke exposure in indoor and outdoor areas of caf챕s and restaurants: Need for extending smoking regulation outdoors?Environ. Res. 2016; 148: 421-8.
  7. Amalia B, Liu X, Lugo A, Fu M, Odone A, Brandt PA, et al. Exposure to secondhand aerosol of electronic cigarettes in indoor settings in 12 European countries: data from the TackSHS survey. Tob Control. 2021; 30(1): 49-56.
  8. Ilies BD, Moosakutty SP, Kharbatia NM, Sarathy SM. Identification of volatile constituents released from IQOS heat-not-burn tobacco HeatSticks using a direct sampling method. Tob Control. 2020; 0: 1-7.
  9. Uchiyama S, Noguchi M, Takagi Nao, Hayashida H, Inaba Y, Ogura H, et al. Simple Determination of Gaseous and Particulate Compounds Generated from Heated Tobacco Products. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2018; 31: 585-93.
  10. Torres S, Merino C, Paton B, Correig X, Ramirez N. Biomarkers of Exposure to Secondhand and Thirdhand Tobacco Smoke: Recent Advances and Future Perspectives. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 2018; 15: 2693.
  11. Capone S, Tufaiello M, Forleo A, Longo V, Giampetruzzi L, Radogna AV, et al. Chromatographic analysis of VOC patterns in exhaled breath from smokers and nonsmokers. Biomed. Chromatogr. 2017; e4132.
  12. Buszewski B, Ulanowska A, Ligor T, Denderz N, Amann A. Analysis of exhaled breath from smokers, passive smokers and non-smokers by solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Biomed. Chromatogr. 2009; 23: 551-6.
  13. Hamblin D, Almirall J. Analysis of exhaled breath from cigarette smokers using CMV-GC/MS. Forensic Chem. 2017; 4: 67-74.
  14. Jareno-Esteban JJ, Munoz-Licas MA, Carrillo-Aranda B, Maldonado-Sanz JA, Granda-Orive I, Aguilar-Ros A, et al. Volatile Organic Com-pounds in Exhaled Breath in a Healthy Population: Effect of Tobacco Smoking. Arch Bronconeumol. 2013; 49(11): 457-61.
  15. Park SS, Lee JY, Cho SI. Validity of Expired Carbon Monoxide and Urine Cotinine Using Dipstick Method to Assess Smoking Status. J Prev Med Public Health. 2007; 40(4): 297-304.
  16. Wang Y, Hu Y, Wang D, Yu K, Wang L, Zou Y, et al. The analysis of volatile organic compounds biomarkers for lung cancer in exhaled breath, tissues and cell lines. Cancer Biomark. 2012; 11: 129-37.
  17. Song G, Qin T, Liu H, Xu GB, Pan YY, Xiong FX, et al. Quantitative breath analysis of volatile organic compounds of lung cancer patients. Lung Cancer. 2010; 67: 227-31.
  18. National Institute of Environmental Research. Methods for Determina-tion of Hazardous and Volatile Organic Compounds in Ambient Air-Adsorbent Trap Method(ES 01804.2). Korean Ministry of Environment. 2016.
  19. Lawal O, Ahmed WM, Nijsen TME, Goodacre R, Fowler SJ. Exhaled breath analysis: a review of 쁞reath-taking’ methods for off-line analysis. Metabolomics. 2017; 13: 110.
  20. St.Helen G, Jacob III P, Nardone N, Benowitz NL. IQOS: examination of Philip Morris International’s claim of reduced exposure. Tob control. 2018; 27: s30-s36.
  21. Tayyarah R, Long GA. Comparison of select analytes in aerosol from e-cigarettes with smoke from conventional cigarettes and with ambient air. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 2014; 70: 704-10.
  22. Phares DJ, Collier S, Zheng Z, Jung HS. In-situ analysis of the gas- and particle-phase in cigarette smoke by chemical ionization TOF-MS. J. Aerosol Sci. 2017; 106: 132-41.
  23. Bentley MC, Almstetter M, Arndt D, Arno Knorr, Martin E, Pospisil P, et al. Comprehensive chemical characterization of the aerosol generated by a heated tobacco product by untargeted screening. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 2020; 412: 2675-85.