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Revising the machine smoking regime for cigarette emissions: implications for tobacco control policy
  1. David Hammond1,
  2. Friedrich Wiebel2,
  3. Lynn T Kozlowski3,
  4. Ron Borland4,
  5. K Michael Cummings5,
  6. Richard J O’Connor5,
  7. Ann McNeill6,
  8. Greg N Connolly7,
  9. Deborah Arnott8,
  10. Geoffrey T Fong9
  1. 1Health Studies & Gerontology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Formerly of the Institute of Toxicology, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Neuherberg, Germany
  3. 3Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
  4. 4The Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Buffalo, New York, USA
  6. 6School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  7. 7Harvard School of Public Health, Division of Public Health Practice, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  8. 8Action on Smoking and Health, London, UK
  9. 9Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 D Hammond
 Health Studies & Gerontology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1; dhammond{at}


Background: The WHO Framework Convenion on Tobacco Control includes provisions for testing and regulating cigarette emissions. However, the current international standard for generating cigarette emissions—the ISO machine smoking regime—is widely acknowledged to be inappropriate for purposes of setting regulatory restrictions.

Objective: To review alternatives to the ISO machine smoking regime and the extent to which they: 1) Represent human smoking behaviour, 2) Reduce the potential for industry exploitation, particularly in the area of risk communication, and 3) Serve as suitable measures for product regulation.

Methods: Emissions data from 238 Canadian cigarette brands tested under the ISO and “Canadian Intense” machine smoking regimes.

Results: None of the alternative smoking regimes, including the Canadian Intense method, are more “representative” of human smoking behaviour and none provide better predictors of human exposure.

Conclusions: Given that alternatives such as the Canadian Intense regime are subject to the same fundamental limitations as the ISO regime, key questions need to be addressed before any smoking regime should be used to set regulatory limits on smoke emissions. In the meantime, regulators should remove quantitative emission values from cigarette packages and more work should be done on alternative machine smoking methods.

  • FCTC, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  • ISO, International Organization for Standardization
  • NNK, 4(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone
  • WHO TobReg, World Health Organization’s Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulations

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  • i Although the Canadian regime has been called a “maximum” smoking regime, it is not. Rather, the puffing parameters for the Canadian regime (55 ml puffs drawn every 30 s) are closer to mean human puffing parameters, even for low-ventilated brands. For example, a recent study of Canadian smokers recorded an average of 52 ml puffs for the three most popular brands, all of which were low-ventilated brands (mean ventilation = 5%, n = 17).21

  • ii Wiebel FJ, Kozlowski L, Hammond D, et al. A novel machine smoking regime for establishing regulatory limits of toxic smoke constituents. World Conference on Tobacco or Health; 13–17 July 2006, Washington DC.

  • iii The different smoking parameters—puff volume, frequency, duration and filter blockage—can be combined in several ways to achieve the same nicotine yield. These machine parameters would, therefore, need to be varied in a systematic way across brands to reach the nicotine “target”. For example, to reach the nicotine target, puff frequencies might be varied by intervals of 4 s and puff volumes by 5 ml, keeping ventilation blocking and puff duration constant.

  • Funding: This review was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute of the United States (through R01 CA 100362 and through the Roswell Park Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center, P50 CA111236), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (045734), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (57897), National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (265903), Cancer Research UK (C312/A3726) and Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative (014578), with additional support from the Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, National Cancer Institute of Canada/Canadian Cancer Society.

  • Competing interests: None.