Characterization of Waterpipe Tobacco Smoke (WTS) by Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) and On-Line Fouier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
Waterpipe smoking is becoming an increasingly popular social activity in the US, especially among college-age students. Unlike cigarette smoke, waterpipe tobacco smoke (WTS) is passed through a bowl of “filtration” liquid prior to inhalation and is thus often misperceived as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking. However, little is known about the chemical composition of WTS and its potential toxicity. In this work the gas and particle phases of WTS, its condensate, and shisha tobacco coating are examined using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) under charcoal and electronic heating conditions. Identified organic aerosols found include: glycerol, carbon monoxide, solvated carbon dioxide, and an unidentified hydroxyl or amine stretch. This work serves as a proof of concept, demonstrating FTIR’s potential for use in WTS analysis, but calls for the development of more specific methods with sensitivities capable of identifying the unknown compound observed and further organic components in WTS.