[Jordan1995] "Acetonitrile and benzene in the breath of smokers and non-smokers investigated by proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS)",
International Journal of Mass Spectrometry and Ion Processes
, vol. 148, no. 1-2, pp. L1 - L3, 1995.
Benzene and acetonitrile are both present in greater concentrations in the breath of smokers than in non-smokers. The concentrations of these neutrals can be readily detected in the gas phase by their proton transfer reactions with H3O+. The concentration of benzene in the breath of smokers rapidly decreases with the time since the last cigarette was smoked, declining to values similar to those of non-smokers within an hour. In contrast, the concentration of acetonitrile in the breath of smokers takes nearly a week to decrease to that of non-somokers, once smoking stops. Thus the analysis of acetonitrile in the breath is a most suitable indicator of whether a given subject is or is not a smoker.