This paper presents the findings on a quantitative evaluation of carbonyl levels in exhaled cigarette smoke from human subjects. The cigarettes evaluated include products with 5.0 mg ‘tar’, 10.6 mg ‘tar’ and 16.2 mg ‘tar’, where ‘tar’ is defined as the weight of total wet particulate matter (TPM) minus the weight of nicotine and water, and the cigarettes are smoked following U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommendations. The measured levels of carbonyls in the exhaled smoke were compared with calculated yields of carbonyls in the inhaled smoke and a retention efficiency was obtained. The number of human subjects included a total of ten smokers for the 10.6 mg ‘tar’, five for the 16.2 mg ‘tar’, and five for the 5.0 mg ‘tar’ product, each subject smoking three cigarettes. The analyzed carbonyl compounds included several aldehydes (formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, propionaldehyde, crotonaldehyde and n-butyraldehyde), and two ketones (acetone and 2-butanone). The smoke collection from the human subjects was vacuum assisted. Exhaled smoke was collected on Cambridge pads pretreated with a solution of dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH) followed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of the dinitrophenylhydrazones of the carbonyl compounds. The cigarette butts from the smokers were collected and analyzed for nicotine. The nicotine levels for the cigarette butts from the smokers were used to calculate the level of carbonyls in the inhaled smoke, based on calibration curves. These were generated separately by analyzing the carbonyls in smoke and the nicotine in the cigarette butts obtained by machine smoking under different puffing regimes. The comparison of the level of carbonyl compounds in exhaled smoke with that from the inhaled smoke showed high retention of all the carbonyls. The retention of aldehydes was above 95% for all three different ‘tar’ levels cigarettes. The ketones were retained with a slightly lower efficiency. Acetone was retained in the range of 90% to 95%. The retention for 2-butanone showed a larger scatter compared to other results but it also appeared to be slightly less absorbed than the aldehydes, with an average retention around 95%. The retention of acetaldehyde and acetone by human smokers was previously reported in literature and the findings from this study are in very good agreement with these result.
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