The global breath analyzer market size was USD 615.1 Million in 2021 and is expected to register a revenue CAGR of 17.5% during the forecast period. Technological improvements in drug and alcohol testing equipment, as well as stringent government regulations, are driving the breath analyzer market revenue growth. The most common reason for traffic accidents is drunk driving. According to research, countries with the most numbers of drunk driving are South Africa with 58% of the global accidents, followed by Canada with 34%, the U.S. with 31%, Australia with 30%, France with 29%, Italy with 25%, and others. On 18 December 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving claimed the lives of 10,142 individuals in 2022 in Washington D.C. alone, accounting for 28% of the 36,096 overall fatalities.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) denotes the level of intoxication used to determine the driver’s blood-alcohol level. Most countries established a legal limit of 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters (ml) of blood (BAC 0.08) as it is the point at which a driver is deemed to be legally intoxicated. Any driver whose blood alcohol content is greater than 0.08 is deemed to be inebriated while operating a vehicle and is not permitted to do so. For instance, in Sweden, the legal limit for BAC is 0.02%; in Israel, Korea, and Australia, it is 0.05%; and in Canada, England, Mexico, and the U.S., it is 0.08%. Driving while intoxicated is punishable in various countries, and in China, if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.02% or above. According to the NHTSA, drinking and driving kill 28 people in the U.S. every day, or one in every 52 minutes. Every year, more than 10,000 lives are lost due to drunk driving. Despite reduced traffic on the roads due to the pandemic, alcohol-related crashes increased by 9% in 2020 compared to 2022. Laws have been implemented to prohibit driving after drinking and severe penalties are imposed on violators. On 29 August 2022, the government of India, under its new law increased the penalties for drunk driving to up to six months in prison or a penalty of USD 128.14 (INR 10,000) for the first offense and two years in prison or a penalty of USD 192.21 (INR 15,000) for a subsequent offense. In the U.K., violating the rule against drinking and driving can result in a jail sentence, a fine of up to USD 5,000, and a minimum 12-month driving ban. The minimum driving ban is three years if a person is found guilty second time within 10 years. To keep a check on drunk driving, law enforcement is using breath analyzers extensively to limit road accidents.
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The alcohol content in the exhaled air is measured by the change in color of the solution. The amount of alcohol present in the breath can be measured by calculating the BAC, which is supposed to be 2,100:1. Alcohol changes the reddish-orange potassium dichromate solution in the Breathalyzer to green. For instance, 2,100 ml of alveolar air will have an alcohol content of 1 ml of blood. On 16 August 2022, Y Combinator, which is an investment company, invested in SannTek Labs to work on a new kind of breathalyzer. This breathalyzer is designed to detect blood alcohol levels as well as the type of cannabis a person has consumed in the past 3-4 hours. Advancements in technologies and such innovations are driving revenue growth of the market. However, breathalyzers are not always accurate. They can sometimes fail to distinguish between alcohol and other specific chemical substances that may be present. For instance, methyl-containing substances, vinegar, and even the breath of a diabetic patient can result in erroneous testing, which hampers their adoption.
Driver: Increasing adoption of breath analyzers in various medical applications
Infrared breath analyzers replaced chemical crystal-based breath analyzers owing to recent advancements made in breath analyzer technology, which has improved its accuracy in determining the amount of alcohol in a breath sample, which is the key factor driving revenue growth of the market. Breath analysis offers a relatively inexpensive, rapid, and non-invasive method for detecting a variety of diseases. It is possible to identify thousands of different molecules, including volatile organic compounds and elemental gases in the breath owing to recent developments in Mass Spectrometry (MS) and Gas Chromatography (GC-MS). The identification of trace gases in a human breath at the parts per trillion level is made possible by more sophisticated technologies, including Selected-ion Flow-tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS), multi-capillary column ion mobility MS (MCC-IMS), and proton transfer reaction MS (PTR-MS). Breath sampling is simple and painless, no specimens are transferred to a lab, waiting for results, and no mixing or handling of fluids is required, making it more convenient, efficient, and cost-effective than blood and urine-based testing systems. Breath-based research is also being done to diagnose breast cancer and heart disease, as well as to detect glucose levels in blood. Diabetics need to self-monitor their blood glucose levels in order to calculate medicine dosage and maintain healthy glucose levels. For diabetics, a breath-based monitoring system would make glucose testing painless and significantly more convenient. On 13 December 2021, scientists developed an RNA-based breath test known as bubbler to detect COVID-19. The Bubbler can barcode that DNA, enabling samples to be directly linked to the patient from where they originated and use for sequencing. It is used for concurrent batches of pooled samples, gives further details such as viral load and strain identity, and does not require sample stabilization.
Increase in stringent regulations for alcohol tests during driving to reduce the number of accidents taking place daily is one of the major factors driving revenue growth of the market. Drunk driving puts the driver, the passenger, and pedestrians in danger, approximately one-third of fatal crashes, accidents, and deaths take place owing to drunk driving. According to the Road Accident Report 2022, in India, there were 449,002 incidents in 2022 that resulted in 151,113 deaths and 451,361 injuries. The number of accidents dropped by 3.86% in 2022, while the number of accident-related fatalities and injuries dropped by 0.20% and 3.8%, respectively. On 23 December 2021, 25,453 drunk driving cases were reported during the course of the year, and 206 people received prison sentences. In spite of a number of tough laws and regulations, drunk driving remains one of the main causes of traffic accidents.
Restraint: Lack of awareness and limited device accuracy
Interfering chemicals such as ethyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol pose a significant problem for alcohol breath analyzers. Diabetics have high acetone levels, which can cause breath analyzer findings to be falsely positive. When testing a new device without drinking, breathalyzers exhibit high false-positive readings of +0.012 BAC % to +0.018 BAC %, due to presence of ethyl alcohol in hand sanitizer, which influences sensors embedded in the breathalyzer. Moreover, chemicals present in several popular cleaning fluids have led to erroneous results when absorbed through skin. From 0% to 0.421% weight per volume (w/v), blood alcohol concentrations were measured. Alcohol concentrations in the breath ranged from 0 to 0.44 g/210 L. 0.16 g/210 L was the average Breathalyzer reading. The average blood alcohol level came up at 0.176% weighted. Breathalyzer results differed from the blood-alcohol result by more than 0.01 g/210 L 61% of the time, within 0.01 g/210 L 33% of the time, and by more than 0.01 g/210 L 6% of the time.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on businesses around the world. To slow the spread of the pandemic, governments around the world imposed tight lockdown measures and social distance standards. The InspectIR COVID-19 Breathalyzer was frequently used during COVID 19. It instantly detects five volatile molecules linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection in exhaled breath and separates and analyses chemical combinations using a technique known as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). When the SARS-CoV-2 VOC markers are found by the InspectIR COVID-19 Breathalyzer, a presumptive positive test result is reported, which can be confirmed by a molecular test. On 3 May 2022, Frisco startup received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for COVID breathalyzer after teaming up with UNT researchers. This significant approval offers a rapid, simpler, and accurate approach to COVID-19 detection. As the first intellectual property from UNT to achieve FDA approval, this is a major accomplishment for UNT as a Tier One research university.
Based on technology, the global breath analyzer market is segmented into fuel cell technology, semiconductor sensor, infrared spectroscopy, laser-based spectroscopy, and others. The fuel cell technology segment is expected to register a significant revenue growth rate owing to the use of an electrochemical process to oxidize alcohol in a breath sample and produce an electrical current, which is measured by a breathalyzer to estimate the BAC. Fuel cell-based testers require less frequent recalibration than semiconductor sensors.
The semiconductor sensors segment accounted for a significant revenue share in 2021. It provides users with a cost-effective means to test alcohol. Semiconductor sensors are precise if the breath temperature is consistent and there are no other volatile substances in the circulation that could interfere with the measurement of the BAC level. It means that chemical compounds other than alcohol are detectable by semiconductor sensors such as mouthwash. Semiconductor sensor units are comparatively inexpensive and are popular as personal breathalyzers for conducting low-volume testing. They usually have an accuracy range of +/-0.01% BAC and can read numbers up to two decimal places.
The laser-based spectroscopy segment is expected to register a moderate revenue growth rate during the forecast period. With detection limits ranging from parts-per-million (ppm, nmol/mol) to less than part-per-billion (ppb, nmol/mol), laser spectroscopy detects single or many volatile chemicals at sub-second time resolution and breath-cycle resolution. The high precision, absolute accuracy, and breath-cycle resolved sampling enable significantly more collection of data and thorough biomarker research.
Based on application, the global breath analyzer market is segmented into drug abuse detection, alcohol detection, and medical applications. The alcohol detection segment is expected to register a steady revenue growth rate over the forecast period. Law enforcement officers have utilized breathalyzers to accurately estimate blood alcohol content. Alcohol measured by an evidential breath analyzer may be admissible in court for prosecution of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), depending on the condition of the driver. Blood alcohol assessed by Gas Chromatography (GC) is subject to relatively little interference while breath alcohol may be impacted by several interfering compounds. For instance, in the U.S., evidence-based breath analyzers used by law enforcement and approved by the NHTSA are trustworthy and admissible in court.
The medical applications segment is expected to register a moderate revenue growth rate over the forecast period owing to the recent advancements made in breath analyzer technology. A breath analyzer is a low-cost and effective tool for detecting a wide range of disorders. Thousands of unique molecules, such as volatile organic compounds and elemental gases can be identified in the breath owing to advancements in mass spectrometry and gas chromatography. Improved technologies such as selected-ion flow-tube mass spectrometry, multi-capillary column ion mobility mass spectrometry, and proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry are used for the identification of trace gases in human breath. It also has a wide utility in medical fields such as diagnosis of various diseases, weight loss, and smoking cessation. For instance, a team of Israeli scientists from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has developed a breathalyzer technology,that has demonstrated an 86% success rate in identifying 17 different diseases.
Based on end-use, the global breath analyzer market is segmented into law enforcement agencies, enterprises, and individuals. The law enforcement agencies segment accounted for a significant revenue share in 2021. Majority of law enforcement organizations use breathalyzers to quickly and accurately test BAC. About 65% of breathalyzers globally used by law enforcement utilize fuel cell technology to calculate BAC. For instance, the electrochemical sensor in the CDP 9000 Police breathalyzer with GPS produces the results with the highest level of accuracy and dependability. It also has a GPS to provide more detailed information about the tests that were done and to determine where the test was done. The CDP 9000 professional breathalyzer is used by law enforcement owing to the simplicity with which test data is handled, and the accuracy and dependability of the results. On 6 September 2021, Delhi Police in India penalized over 90 people for drunk driving after resuming breathalyzer tests.
The market in Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market over the forecast period owing to the development of improved breathalyzers, rising alcohol consumption, and low literacy. The major market in the region includes India, China, Malaysia, and Japan. For instance, according to Road Accidents in India 2020, there were 3,66,138 regrettable incidents of road accidents in 2020, resulting in 1,31,714 fatalities and 3,48,279 injuries. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), between 2022 and 2020, drunk driving led to more than 38,000 traffic collisions in India, which represent about 2% of all traffic accidents that occurred in India. Additionally, 6,675 people were critically injured in the accidents in 2022 alone, and nearly 3,000 people died. Such incidences are driving the need for breathalyzers in the region.
Europe is expected to register a moderate revenue growth rate over the forecast period. The growth within the region is attributed to factors referring to drug and alcohol testing laws and increasing usage of private breath analyzers in conjunction with multiple products launched in the past. Governments have started using media campaigns to promote traffic safety and prevent drunk driving. For instance, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland have lowered the legal alcohol limit to 80 to 50 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood (0.05%). In Estonia, Poland, and Finland, traffic police conduct up to 650 drivers inspections for every 1,000 residents.
The market in North America is expected to account for largest revenue share owing to the rising number of drunk and drive cases. Drunk driving is a major problem in the U.S. According the NHTSA, in the U.S., about 32 individuals died in drunk-driving accidents every 45 minutes. In 2020, 11,654 persons died in traffic accidents due to alcohol-impaired driving, a 14% increased from 2022. Drunk drivers with BAC of 0.08 g/dL or higher accounts for over 30% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S.
The competitive landscape of the global breath analyzer market is fragmented with a number of major companies operating on global and regional levels. Key players are engaged in product development and strategic alliances to expand their respective product portfolios and gain a robust footing in the global market. Some major companies profiled in the market report are Guth Laboratories Inc., Lifeloc Technologies Inc., Alcolizer Technology, Quest Products, LLC., Advanced Safety Devices, AlcoPro, LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V., Intoximeters, Alcohol Countermeasure System Corp, and Hound Labs, Inc.
- On 8 September 2022, Hound Labs Inc., which is based in California, developed the world’s first device that can detect both alcohol and marijuana in a person’s system. The company claims that its research is backed up by a test study employing its Hound Breathalyzer equipment. They also revealed that they had developed marijuana breathalyzer devices and planned to sell them to police departments. Researchers from the university also revealed the specifications of a device they built to deliver instant marijuana level measurements.
Segments Covered in the report
This report offers historical data and forecasts revenue growth at a global, regional, and country-level, and provides an analysis of market trends in each of sub-segments from 2022 to 2030. For the purpose of this report, Reports and Data has segmented the global breath analyzer based on technology, application, end-use, and region:
Breath Analyzer Market Report Scope
Segments covered By Technology Outlook, Application Outlook, End Use Outlook, Regional Outlook
By Technology Outlook
Fuel Cell Technology
Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy
By Application Outlook
Drug Abuse Technology
By End Use Outlook
Law Enforcement Agencies
Middle East & Africa
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