Researchers have developed a new test to measure mainstream smoke deliveries of select chemicals that an inharette basis, providing a more accurate estimate of exposure than traditional automated cigarette smoking machines. Details of the new test were reported at the American Chemical Society National Meeting.
“Historically, our knowledge about the amounts of carcinogens, nicotine, and tar produced by cigarettes is based on data from smoking machines,” said Clifford Watson, PhD, a chemist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Those machines do not smoke cigarettes in the same way as people. Smokers may inhale large puff volumes or take more puffs per cigarette than the fixed regimen a smoking machine uses. Our method avoids those pitfalls and provides an actual ‘mouth level'—rather than a ‘machine-level'—profile of smokers' exposure to the harmful substances in tobacco smoke.”
Using cigarette butts from a variety of brands that were machine-smoked under different conditions, including variations in the amount of smoke per cigarette puff, differences in the number of puffs, and effectiveness of the filter, Dr. Watson and his team removed the filters from the cigarette butts and measured the amount of solanesol, a substance naturally present in tobacco. The researchers found that during smoking, a fraction of solanesol deposits in cigarette filters, indicating that measuring solanesol provides a quick, inexpensive way to estimate a smoker's total exposure in a way that more closely reflects their natural smoking habits.
Dr. Watson noted that measurements of this one compound could be used to gauge a smoker's exposure to a number of other chemicals present in cigarette smoke.
Potential future applications also include examining a smoker's daily cigarette-to-cigarette consumption pattern and developing an optimized smoking-cessation program based on an individual's pattern. It may also be possible to develop individualized plans for quitting that are custom-tailored to each individual's smoking pattern to improve cessation rates.