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Filter ventilation and nicotine content of tobacco in cigarettes from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States
  1. Lynn T Kozlowskia,
  2. Nicholas Y Mehtaa,
  3. Christine T Sweeneya,
  4. Stephen S Schwartza,
  5. George P Voglera,
  6. Martin J Jarvisb,
  7. Robert J Westc
  1. aDepartment of Biobehavioral Health, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA, bDepartment of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK, cDepartment of Psychology, St Georges Hospital Medical School, London
  1. Dr LT Kozlowski, Department of Biobehavioral Health, 315 Health and Human Development East, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA;ltk1{at}


OBJECTIVES The purpose was to determine filter ventilation and the nicotine content of tobacco and their contribution to machine-smoked yields of cigarettes from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

METHODS Ninety-two brands of cigarettes (32 American, 23 Canadian, and 37 British brands) were purchased at retail outlets in State College, Pennsylvania, United States, Toronto, Canada, and London, United Kingdom. A FIDUS FDT filter ventilation tester measured the percentage air-dilution from filter vents. High-pressure, liquid chromatography was used to measure the nicotine content of tobacco. Regression techniques were used to examine the contributions of tobacco nicotine content and filter ventilation to machine-smoked yields of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide (CO).

RESULTS Ninety-four per cent of the American brands, 91% of the Canadian brands, and 79% of British brands were ventilated. The total nicotine content of tobacco and percent nicotine (by weight of tobacco) averaged 10.2 mg (standard error of the mean (SEM) 0.25, range: 7.2 to 13.4) and 1.5% (SEM 0.03, range 1.2 to 2) in the United States, 13.5 mg (SEM 0.49, range: 8.0 to 18.3) and 1.8% (SEM 0.06, range: 1.0 to 2.4) in Canada, 12.5 mg (SEM 0.33, range: 9 to 17.5) and 1.7% (SEM 0.04, range: 1.3 to 2.4) in the United Kingdom. Multiple regression analyses showed that ventilation was by far the largest factor influencing machine-smoked yields of tar, nicotine, and CO.

CONCLUSION Filter ventilation appears to be the predominant method for reducing machine-smoked yields of tar, nicotine, and CO in three countries. However, some brands contain about twice as much nicotine (total content or percent nicotine) as do others, indicating that tobacco types or blends and tobacco casings can be used to manipulate nicotine content and nicotine delivery of cigarettes.

  • filter ventilation
  • nicotine content
  • cigarettes

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