Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tobacco contains highly toxic compounds not regulated by law, Spanish researchers find

Date:
October 1, 2012
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Researchers have analyzed ten brands of cigarettes and found that the concentrations of certain harmful and carcinogenic substances vary significantly from one brand to another. Until now legislation has not covered these compounds and only establishes limits for nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. Scientists have also developed catalysts to reduce the harmful products in tobacco.

The concentrations of certain harmful and carcinogenic substances vary significantly from one brand to another.
Credit: SINC

Researchers from the University of Alicante (Spain) have analysed ten brands of cigarettes and found that the concentrations of certain harmful and carcinogenic substances vary significantly from one brand to another. Until now legislation has not covered these compounds and only establishes limits for nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. Scientists have also developed catalysts to reduce the harmful products in tobacco.

In accordance with current legislation, cigarette packets indicate the nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide concentrations in order to confirm that these do not exceed permitted levels. However the quantity of these substances is not always proportional to the toxicity levels of many other compounds¸ "therefore more suitable parameters are required for determining the toxicity level of tobacco."

This is a conclusion of a study by chemical engineers at the University of Alicante (Spain), published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. The researchers analysed the gases and particulate matter -- tar -- from ten commercial brands of blond tobacco cigarettes: three Spanish brands (Fortuna, Ducados and Nobel), and seven American or British brands (Marlboro, Winston, Chesterfield, Camel, L&M, Lucky Strike and John Player).

"Although the products generated appear similar, the relative performance (mg/cigarette) of certain highly toxic and carcinogenic compounds varies considerably from one brand to another," highlights María Isabel Beltrán, one of the authors.

According to the study, the proportion of compounds detected in the gases is maintained in each packet type, but there are some that do not follow this tendency, such as isoprene, chrotonaldehyde and toluene, which are among the most carcinogenic and harmful ones.

The situation is similar in the case of particulate matter. The individual performance of these compounds is correlated with the global performance for each brand, but certain harmful substances, such as hydroquinone and cotinine do not adjust to this pattern and appear more in some brands than in others.

The results also reveal that the brands with the lowest production of gaseous compounds are not those with the lowest tar levels, and that the brand that generates the most isoprene, toluene and chrotonaldehyde produces a lower quantity of tar than the average. "We should not therefore assume that a cigarette which generates more tars is going to be more toxic than another that produces fewer," notes Beltrán.

The researchers, who claim in the article not to have any conflict of interests, have preferred not to reveal the figures for each brand and have identified these with the letters A to J. To perform the analysis the cigarettes were inhaled in a 'smoking machine' and the smoke composition was measured in three fractions: one gaseous, in which 35 compounds were identified, and two of particulate matter, with 85 compounds, which were trapped respectively in the filter and in the smoke traps used to measure "what a person smokes."

It has, therefore, been observed that in the cigarettes containing more tobacco, the amount consumed in a set number of puffs is lower. According to the scientists, this is because there is less oxygen available due to the increased packing.

With respect to the regulated substances, when compared to other studies, it was found that the level of carbon monoxide in Spanish cigarettes is 'medium-high' with respect to the others, and one of the brands ('C') even slightly exceeded the value established by law (10 mg/cigarette), containing 11.1 mg/cigarette.

"The results must be considered with caution and compared to those from other laboratories as, although we experimented with 200 cigarettes, sometimes the data may vary depending on the batch of packets or the environmental conditions," stated the researcher, "and in any case, we do not think we should be the ones to report them."

The performance of nicotine in the traps varies from 0.28 to 0.61 mg/cigarette, that is, the amount may double from one brand to another, while remaining within legal limits. "In fact, although nicotine is responsible for the addiction, it is not the most harmful part of the cigarette," says Beltrán. "Of the more than three thousand compounds in tobacco there are many which are worse, such as hydrogen cyanide, 1,3-butadiene or some of the families of aldehydes, nitrosamines and phenols."

To reduce the quantities of toxic products in the cigarettes, the researchers have also tested and developed several catalysers. One of these, known as Al-MCM-41, reduces carbon monoxide emissions by 23% and nicotine emissions by more than 40%.

"The three-dimensional structure of this material, clay with silicon and aluminium oxides, permits the formation of 'caves' in which the long chain compounds are retained," says Beltrán, who confirmed that the flavour of the tobacco is hardly affected and that some of the leading companies have already expressed interest in the patent for the new catalyser.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. A. Marcilla, I. Martínez, D. Berenguer, A. Gómez-Siurana, M.I. Beltrán. Comparative study of the main characteristics and composition of the mainstream smoke of ten cigarette brands sold in Spain. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2012; 50 (5): 1317 DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2012.01.046
  2. A. Marcilla, A. Gómez-Siurana, D. Berenguer, I. Martínez-Castellanos, M.I. Beltrán. Reduction of tobacco smoke components yields by zeolites and synthesized Al-MCM-41. Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 2012; 161: 14 DOI: 10.1016/j.micromeso.2012.05.010

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Tobacco contains highly toxic compounds not regulated by law, Spanish researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001095443.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2012, October 1). Tobacco contains highly toxic compounds not regulated by law, Spanish researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001095443.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Tobacco contains highly toxic compounds not regulated by law, Spanish researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001095443.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) — A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) — Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins