Article Text

Download PDFPDF
How do different cigarette design features influence the standard tar yields of popular cigarette brands sold in different countries?
  1. R J O’Connor1,
  2. D Hammond2,
  3. A McNeill3,
  4. B King4,
  5. L T Kozlowski5,
  6. G A Giovino5,
  7. K M Cummings1
  1. 1
    Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA
  2. 2
    Department of Health Studies & Gerontology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3
    Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Nottingham University, Nottingham, UK
  4. 4
    VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, The Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5
    Department of Health Behavior, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA
  1. Dr R J O’Connor, Department of Health Behavior, Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA; richard.oconnor{at}


Objectives: To examine the associations among cigarette design features and tar yields of leading cigarette brands sold in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Methods: Government reports and numbers listed on packs were used to obtain data on International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/Federal Trade Commission (FTC) yields for the tar of 172 cigarette varieties sold in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. We used standardised methods to measure the following 11 cigarette design parameters: filter ventilation, cigarette pressure drop, filter pressure drop, tobacco rod length, filter length, cigarette diameter, tipping paper length, tobacco weight, filter weight, rod density and filter density.

Results: Filter ventilation was found to be the predominant design feature accounting for the variations between brands in ISO/FTC tar yields in each of the four countries. After accounting for filter ventilation, design parameters such as overwrap length, tobacco weight and rod density played comparatively minor roles in determining tar yields.

Conclusions: Variation in ISO/FTC tar yields are predicted by a limited set of cigarette design features, especially filter ventilation, suggesting that governments should consider mandatory disclosure of cigarette design parameters as part of comprehensive tobacco product regulations.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding: The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute via the Roswell Park Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC), 1 P50 CA111236.

  • Competing interests: None.