[Lirk2004] "Quantification of recent smoking behaviour using proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS).",
Wien Klin Wochenschr
, vol. 116, no. 1-2: Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Clinical Division of General Internal Medicine, Leopold-Franzens University, Innsbruck, Austria., pp. 21–25, Jan, 2004.
Smoking is the most important single risk factor in current public health. Surveillance of exposure to tobacco smoke may be accomplished using environmental monitoring or in-vivo tests for smoking biomarkers. Acetonitrile exhaled in human breath has been described as a potential marker mirroring recent smoking behavior. The aim of this study was to determine exhaled acetonitrile levels in a sample of 268 volunteers (48 smokers, 220 non-smokers) attending a local health fair. Breath specimens were collected into inert sample bags, with parallel collection of ambient air. Subsequently, all samples were analysed using proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS). Smokers had elevated levels of exhaled acetonitrile compared with non-smokers (p<0.001). Analysis using the receiver-operating-characteristic curve demonstrated that smoking can be predicted with a sensitivity of 79% and a specificity of 91%, using a cut-off concentration of 20.31 parts per billion of acetonitrile. This first field survey of exhaled acetonitrile in a large group of test persons demonstrates the feasibility of a rapid and non-invasive test for recent exposure to tobacco. We conclude that analysis of exhaled-breath acetonitrile may serve as a method of determining recent active smoking behaviour.