Temporal Changes in Thirdhand Cigarette Smoke Film Composition and Oxidation of Co-existing Surface Film Chemicals

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The composition of air-exposed surfaces can have a strong impact on air quality and chemical exposure in the indoor environment. Thirdhand smoke (THS), which includes surface-deposited cigarette smoke residue along with the collection of gases evolved from such residues, is becoming increasingly recognized as an important source of long-term tobacco smoke exposure. While studies have described gas/surface partitioning behaviour and some multiphase reaction systems involving THS, the possibility of time-dependent changes in chemical composition due to chemical reactivity that is endogenous to the deposited film has yet to be investigated. In this study, sidestream cigarette smoke was allowed to deposit on glass surfaces that were either clean or pre-coated with chemicals that may be oxidized by reactive oxygen species found in the smoke. Surface films included a low volatility antioxidant, tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine (TCEP), and two compounds relevant to surface films found within buildings, oleic acid (OA) and squalene (SQ). Upon deposition, oxidation products of nicotine, TCEP, OA, and SQ were formed over time periods of hours to weeks. The inherent oxidative potential of cigarette smoke deposited as a THS film can therefore initiate and sustain oxidation chemistry, transforming the chemical composition of surface films over long periods of time after initial smoke deposition. An interpretation of the THS oxidation results is provided in the context of other types of deposited particulate air pollutants with known oxidative potential that may be introduced to indoor environments. Continued study of THS and deposited surface films found indoors should consider the concept that chemical reservoirs found on surfaces may be reactive, that the chemical composition of indoor surface films may be time-dependent, and that the deposition of aerosol particles can act as a mechanism to initiate oxidation in surface films.


Environmental Science: Atmospheres




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