First Advisor

James F. Pankow

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Tobacco smoke -- Composition, Tobacco smoke -- Analysis




The acid/base chemistry of cigarette smoke allows nicotine, the primary drug in mainstream tobacco smoke, to exist in protonated and free-base forms. Evidence suggests that most of the nicotine present in mainstream tobacco smoke is in the particle phase. αfb is the fraction of particle-phase nicotine in the free-base form. The magnitude and rate of nicotine deposition in the respiratory tract is dependent on αfb because only the free-base form of nicotine can volatilize from the particle phase of an inhaled aerosol and, once gaseous, rapidly deposit. This study develops a headspace solid-phase microextraction technique coupled with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis that effectively quantifies αfb. The developed method is used to study the αfb of several commercial cigarette brands. This research has important implications on the drug delivery rate and addiction potential of inhaled mainstream tobacco smoke particulate matter.



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A research project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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