Background It has been reported that charcoal added to cigarette filters selectively removes many of the more volatile chemicals, but it is not clear to what extent charcoal may reduce the delivery of important less volatile chemical constituents in mainstream cigarette smoke.
Methods We analysed machine-derived mainstream smoke deliveries (under three smoking regimens) for variants of a charcoal-filtered cigarette commercially test-marketed in the USA, focusing on selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenols and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs).
Results While charcoal-containing filters selectively removed lower molecular weight PAHs from mainstream smoke, they did not significantly remove the heavier and more toxic PAHs studied, such as benzo[a]pyrene, a known carcinogen. Likewise, charcoal-containing filters removed phenols and TSNAs from mainstream smoke to differing amounts depending on the compound, filter design and the smoking regimen.
Conclusions The addition of sufficient charcoal to cigarette filters is known to remove many volatile compounds and can potentially reduce deliveries of certain semi-volatile compounds under some machine smoking regimens. Less volatile compounds, with a significant portion in the particulate phase, are less available for selective filtration by charcoal-containing filters than the more volatile compounds that reside predominantly in the gas phase.
- Harm reduction
- tobacco products
- volatile organic compounds
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All authors contributed to the paper.
Funding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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