3-Ethenylpyridine Measured in Urine of Active and Passive Smokers: A Promising Biomarker and Toxicological Implications

Jia Liu, Neal L. Benowitz, Dorothy K. Hatsukami, Christopher M. Havel, Eduardo Lazcano-Ponce, Andrew A. Strasser, Peyton Jacob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In studies of tobacco toxicology, including comparisons of different tobacco products and exposure to secondhand or thirdhand smoke, exposure assessment using biomarkers is often useful. Some studies have indicated that most of the toxicity of tobacco smoke is due to gas-phase compounds. 3-Ethenylpyridine (3-EP) is a major nicotine pyrolysis product occurring in the gas phase of tobacco smoke. It has been used extensively as an environmental tracer for tobacco smoke. 3-EP would be expected to be a useful tobacco smoke biomarker as well, but nothing has been published about its metabolism and excretion in humans. In this Article we describe a solid-phase microextraction (SPME) GC-MS/MS method for determination of 3-EP in human urine and its application to the determination of 3-EP in the urine of smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke. We conclude that 3-EP is a promising biomarker that could be useful in studies of tobacco smoke exposure and toxicology. We also point out the paucity of data on 3-EP toxicity and suggest that additional studies are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1630-1639
Number of pages10
JournalChemical research in toxicology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 21 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support from the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), 28PT-0077 (P.J.) and 28PT-0013 (N.L.B.), and from the National Institutes of Health, P30 DA012393 (P.J.), R01 CA141531 (D.K.H.), and U54 CA229973 (A.A.S.), is gratefully acknowledged. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the TRDRP, the National Institutes of Health, or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that provided funding for U54 CA229973.

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