A team of Catalan researchers has discovered the presence of a compound called 2,5-dimethylfuran, which lingers in a smoker's breath for 3 days.
This substance does not appear in the breath of non-smokers, unless they have been in direct contact with tobacco smoke for a long time. However, it may be detected in a passive smoker if he or she has been in direct contact with smoke for a long time.
"2,5-dimethylfuran cannot be detected in breath samples of non-smokers, meaning that the only way to know if a person has smoked in the last 72 hours is to use its qualitative determination", Juan Manuel Sanchez, researcher with the Chemistry Department of the University of Girona (UdG) and co-author of the study, reports to SINC.
"Benzene, which is sometimes appears in the bibliography, is only useful when tobacco consumption is relatively high and in short periods -between 1 and 2 hours- after having smoked a cigarette, which means it is of no use from a practical point of view", explains Sanchez.
To prove their theory, the researchers collected breath samples of 100 smokers and 104 non-smokers, who were first asked to answer a questionnaire on their habits.
The results confirm that the presence of 2,5-dimethylfuran is associated with the act of smoking.
The study appears in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.