Almost all cigarettes sold have a filter (United States, >98%; worldwide, >95%). In the last 25 years cigarette manufacturers have introduced diverse filters designed to reduce components in tobacco smoke. Today, there exists a need to establish assays to assess the efficacy of cigarette filters to retain total particulate matter (TPM), particularly unique filters of cigarettes that are being marketed as potential reduced exposure products (PREPs). We report the results of studies that were undertaken to test the hypothesis that a technique could be established for dissolving cigarette filters, and that the TPM in the fluid could be quantified by spectrofluorometry. Described here are procedures for assaying TPM on both Cambridge filter pads (glass fibres) of smoking machines and on cigarette filters (cellulose acetate fibres). The principle of the assays is based upon the observation that there exists a direct correlation between the amount of tobacco product emission TPM and fluorescence. In the absence of a tobacco tar or TPM standard, the fluorescent dye acridine orange was confirmed as a useful surrogate. Filters assayed included those of Kentucky reference cigarettes 2R4F and popular US brand cigarettes. The proposed assays are inexpensive, expedient, reproducible and amendable for large-scale studies.
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