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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1989 Jul;140(1):202-5.

Particle size distribution of mainstream tobacco and marijuana smoke. Analysis using the electrical aerosol analyzer.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock.


Accurate measurement of cigarette smoke particle size distribution is important for estimation of lung deposition. Most prior investigators have reported a mass median diameter (MMD) in the size range of 0.3 to 0.5 micron, with a small geometric standard deviation (GSD), indicating few ultrafine (less than 0.1 micron) particles. A few studies, however, have suggested the presence of ultrafine particles by reporting a smaller count median diameter (CMD). Part of this disparity may be due tot he inefficiency to previous sizing methods in measuring ultrafine size range, to evaluate size distribution of smoke from standard research cigarettes, commercial filter cigarettes, and from marijuana cigarettes with different delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol contents. Four 35-cm3, 2-s puffs were generated at 60-s intervals, rapidly diluted, and passed through a charge neutralizer and into a 240-L chamber. Size distribution for six cigarettes of each type was measured, CMD and GSD were determined from a computer-generated log probability plot, and MMD was calculated. The size distribution parameters obtained were similar for all cigarettes tested, with an average CMD of 0.1 micron, a MMD of 0.38 micron, and a GSD of 2.0. The MMD found using the EAA is similar to that previously reported, but the CMD is distinctly smaller and the GSD larger, indicating the presence of many more ultrafine particles. These results may explain the disparity of CMD values found in existing data. Ultrafine particles are of toxicologic importance because their respiratory tract deposition is significantly higher than for particles 0.3 to 0.5 micron and because their large surface area facilitates adsorption and delivery of potentially toxic gases to the lung.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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