A simple and rapid method for the determination of nicotine in third-hand smoke by liquid chromatography and its application for the assessment of contaminated outdoor communal areas

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Silva, S. Inácia S. e. ; Bowdler, P. ; Giltrow, D. ; Riddell, S. ; Honeychurch, K. C. (2016)

This is the first report on the determination of nicotine in third-hand smoke (THS) in outdoor communal areas. THS can be defined as the contamination of surfaces by second-hand smoke. This can remain for periods of time and undergo further chemical reactions to produce further pollutants which can be re-suspended in dust or re-emitted into the gas phase. As THS is a rather complex mixture studies have focused on using nicotine as a marker of THS, as it is the most abundant organic compound emitted during smoking. In this present study, the extraction of dust wipe samples and the subsequent chromatographic conditions required for the separation of nicotine by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography were optimised. The optimum chromatographic conditions were identified as a 150 mm x 4.6 mm, 5 µm Zorbax Carbohydrate Analysis column with a mobile phase consisting of 90 % acetonitrile, 10 % water at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/min with UV detection at 259 nm. Further investigations were made on samples collected from surfaces of public entrance ways. Under these conditions, a linear range for nicotine of 0.05 to 24 µg/mL (1.0 ng – 480 ng on column) was obtained, with a detection limit of 1.0 ng on column based on a signal-to-noise ratio of three. Acetone, naphthalene, phenol, musk ketone and palmitic acid were found not to interfere. Entrances were found to be contaminated with THS nicotine between 5.09 µg/m2 and 309 µg/m2 notably higher than that found in studies of indoor environments.
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