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Laboratory Analysis

Specialized laboratory procedures may be needed for analysis depending on the method of SHS monitoring. The laboratory conducting the analysis must meet several quality-control standards and have the appropriate instrumentation to accurately conduct analysis.

The Secondhand Smoke Exposure Assessment Laboratory at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducts analysis on passive air monitors, as well as on biomarker samples including saliva and hair samples. The lab offers state-of-the-art methods of analysis with established quality control.

Other laboratories around the world also have the capability to analyze samples and provide results. 

  • Air Nicotine: Once in the laboratory, the sodium bisulfate filters are removed from the monitors. The nicotine and bisulfate are desorbed in water. The nicotine is extracted with a heptane solution, which is injected into a gas chromatograph machine and detected by a mass spectrometer. Then, the concentration of nicotine in the air is calculated.
  • Biomarkers: Saliva samples, which should be kept at -20 C0 prior to analysis, are analyzed for the presence of cotinine. Hair samples are analyzed for nicotine levels.

Consult with a biostatistician for further data analysis.


This project is funded by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use and the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI), developed in consultation with Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University of Southern California, Institute for Global Health.