Quantification of nicotine in commercial brand cigarettes

The main objective of this experiment is to determine the amount of nicotine in commercial brand cigarettes by means of a nonaqueous acid‐base titration. A simple glass device simulating a smoker is proposed, which allows the determination of the volatilized, filter retained, and inhaled portions. Students will readily see that the amount of nicotine/cigarette stated on the label (∼0.5–1.0 mg) refers indeed to the inhaled portion only, rather than to the total amount/cigarette (usually more than 10 mg).

Even so, values for inhaled nicotine may be significantly higher than those reported for several brands.

Students will also be able to make a critical evaluation of the true content of nicotine in the inhaled portion and confront it with the reported value for a given brand.

In addition, the theoretical approach, supported by HPLC data, provides an excellent experience on nonaqueous acid‐base volumetric analysis.

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Carlos A. Vieira Sabina A. A. de Paiva Milena N. S. Funai Mateus M. Bergamaschi Regina H. C. Queiroz José R. Giglio