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Switching to cigarette brand variants with different filter ventilation levels: a descriptive analysis


Background Regulation of filter ventilation (FV) has been proposed to reduce misperceptions that ventilation reduces the health risks of smoking. We describe smoking behaviour and exposure after switching to a cigarette brand variant (CBV) with a different FV level.

Methods Wave 1 (2013–2014) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco Use and Health Study was merged with FV levels of participants’ CBV and restricted to adults with a usual CBV, smoked daily and included in wave 4 (2016–2017; n=371). Generalised estimation equations method modelled changes in FV and cigarettes per day (CPD), quit interest, total nicotine equivalents (TNE) and total NNAL (biomarker of a tobacco-specific carcinogen). FV change was defined as a change in CBV resulting in a ≥20% increase or decrease in FV. Secondary analyses used FV change based on an increase from <5% to >10% or a decrease from >10% to <5%.

Results A non-significant pattern indicating an increase of 0.97 and 0.49 CPD was observed among those who switched to a CBV and increased FV by ≥20% and from <5% to >10%, respectively. A non-significant pattern indicating a decrease of 1.31 and 1.97 CPD was observed among those who decreased FV by ≥20% and from >10% to <5%, respectively. Changes in quit interest and biomarkers were also non-significant with one exception: greater reduction in TNE among those who decreased from >10% to <5% FV versus no change (−8.51 vs −0.25 nmol/mg creatinine; p=0.0447).

Conclusions Switching to CBV with lower FV does not appear to increase exposure and may even reduce exposure for some. Additional investigations are recommended to confirm these descriptive findings.

  • carcinogens
  • addiction
  • tobacco industry

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