Background: The World Health Organization Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg) study group has proposed emissions level performance standards for nine toxicants (NNN, NNK, acetaldehyde, acrolein, 1,3-butadiene, CO, BaP, benzene and formaldehyde, all expressed as micrograms per milligram nicotine as measured under the Canadian intensive method) in cigarette smoke for parties to the FCTC in conjunction with regular monitoring of emissions of nine other toxicants of interest, nicotine and nicotine-free dry particulate matter (NFDPM, or “tar”).
Methods: We examined the published literature and publicly available tobacco industry documents to determine the extent to which existing available technologies can be applied to reduce the emissions of the specified toxicants in cigarette smoke.
Results: Agricultural practices (for example, fertilisers, curing), plant characteristics (for example, protein content, nicotine content), tobacco blending (for example, American blend vs Virginia blend) and cigarette design (for example, additives, filters, paper) issues all have roles in the generation and reduction of specific smoke toxicants. The tobacco industry has explored a number of technologies, including selective filtration, changes to curing practices and rod additives to reduce specific toxicants.
Conclusions: Technologies exist to reduce the toxicants identified by TobReg. The extent to which the industry is able to simultaneously reduce toxicants, however, is unknown.
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Funding: This paper is adapted from a working paper commissioned by the WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg) for their 4th meeting, 23–25 July Stanford, CA, USA, and WHO supported RJO’C’s travel to the meeting. The work was also supported via the Roswell Park Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC; 1 P50 CA111236).
Competing interests: None.