Tobacco smoke is very complex, containing upwards of 4800 individual substances. The volatility and concentration of these substances vary over a large range. Some of the substances are additives to the tobacco, but most are products of pyrolysis/combustion of natural components of tobacco (e.g., cellulose). The relatively high temperature (~ 950°C) allows complex reactions to occur, generating a very diverse collection of compounds. However, almost two-thirds of additives undergo <5% decomposition or reaction. The compounds are distributed between the gas phase are particle phase (liquid aerosol). For organic compounds, about 75% are in the particle phase and 25% in the gas phase. Sampling the particles is a very challenging task.
Recently, though, Dr. Gary Glish, Professor of Chemistry, has developed state of the art mass spectrometry-based techniques to measure cigarette smoke constituents in real time. Using these techniques, the Analytic Core will analyze new and emerging tobacco products (e.g., little cigars and hookah) and provide up to date information on the relevant tobacco constituents of these new products to project leaders. This will ensure that the appropriate tobacco chemical constituents are being evaluated with regards to their potential effects on airway surface liquid (ASL) and mucus homeostasis.