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Chemical characterization of nanoparticles and volatiles present in mainstream hookah smoke


Waterpipe smoking is becoming more popular worldwide and there is a pressing need to better characterize the exposure of smokers to chemical compounds present in the mainstream smoke. We report real-time measurements of mainstream smoke for carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nanoparticle size distribution and chemical composition using a custom dilution flow tube. A conventional tobacco mixture, a dark leaf unwashed tobacco and a nicotine-free herbal tobacco were studied. Results show that carbon monoxide is present in the mainstream smoke and originates primarily from the charcoal used to heat the tobacco. Online measurements of volatile organic compounds in mainstream smoke showed an overwhelming contribution from glycerol. Gas phase analysis also showed that very little filtration of the gas phase products is provided by the percolation of mainstream smoke through water. Waterpipe smoking generated high concentrations of 4-100 nm nanoparticles, which were mainly composed of sugar derivatives and especially abundant in the first 10 min of the smoking session. These measured emissions of volatiles and particles are compared with those from a reference cigarette (3R4F) and represent the equivalent of the emission of one or more entire cigarettes for a single puff of hookah smoke. Considerations related to the health impacts of waterpipe smoking are discussed.

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