Smoke versus Vapor

The Tobacco Industry vs the Electronic Cigarette


Tobacco Information


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Laboratory Sciences

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Tobacco/Smoking

Photo of Scientist Working in Laboratory

Exposure to Tobacco Smoke and Harmful Substances in Tobacco Biomonitoring also has been the driving force for assessing people's exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), which has been identified as causing cancer in people. Children are at particular risk for harm from ETS, which may aggravate asthma in children who have the disease and greatly increase the risk for bronchitis and pneumonia among young children.

The best way to measure individual exposure to ETS is to measure levels of a chemical called cotinine. This chemical is a metabolite of nicotine and is regarded as the best biological marker for tobacco smoke exposure for both smokers and nonsmokers exposed to ETS. People with higher cotinine levels have had more exposure to tobacco smoke than people with lower levels.

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CDC Resources

U.S. Federal Government Resources

Non-Federal Resources


Cigarette Information

For the first time, Health Canada is making public information collected from tobacco companies about cigarette constituents and emissions. This information is collected by Health Canada about each brand of cigarettes, pursuant to the requirements of the Tobacco Act. Health Canada is releasing this data on request to provide Canadians with a better overall picture of the amounts of selected toxic substances found in tobacco and cigarette smoke.

Researchers and health groups interested in increasing awareness of the health hazards associated with tobacco use, should find it particularly useful.

Follow this link to the Canadian Cigarette Report 2004.


In 2000, the Government of Canada introduced Tobacco Reporting Regulations, which requires tobacco manufacturers and importers to provide Health Canada with information on cigarette and tobacco constituents and smoke emissions from burning cigarettes. Since June 2006, Health Canada has made this information available to the public.

The BC Ministry of Health will continue to make available the public reports submitted by Canadian tobacco manufacturers for the period from 1999 to 2006, on request.

Although this information is to be available to the public on request, I have only received the 2004 report and my request for information on the other years has so far been ignored. In order to compare the levels of toxicity, I require additional information and quite honestly I would also like to compare the reports during the 2006 - to 2009 time frame, but it seems those are not available to the public.

My E-mail requests 


Carcinogens in Tobacco Smoke

Every time a person breathes in second-hand smoke, he/she consumes over 100 harmful chemical agents - carcinogens and toxins. Involuntary smoking involves exposure to the same numerous carcinogens and toxic substances that are present in mainstream tobacco smoke. There are 69 identified carcinogens in tobacco smoke (IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks. Volume 1 and Supplements 1-8, 1972-1999. (1) Human carcinogens; (2A) Probably carcinogenic in humans; (2B) Possibly carcinogenic to humans; (3) Not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans.).

Of the 69 cancer-causing chemical agents, 11 are human carcinogens, 7 are probably carcinogenic in humans, and 49 of animal carcinogens are possibly also carcinogenic to humans. To view IARCís list of the 69 carcinogens in tobacco smoke, please refer to the National Cancer Institute Monograph 13, Risks Associated with Smoking Cigarettes with Low-Machine Measured Yields of Tar and Nicotine. (U.S. Department of Health Human Services. October 2001: pages 160-165).

While this is a list for mainstream smoke, the same chemicals are also found in sidestream smoke, which together make second-hand smoke a very lethal by-product. The carcinogens found in sidestream smoke often contain higher concentrations of particular carcinogens than found in mainstream smoke because it is produced at a lower temperature, resulting in incomplete combustion of the tobacco (IARC Monograph, volume 83. Tobacco Smoke and Involuntary Smoking. 2002).

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OCAT - Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

Health Effects of Second-hand Smoke Exposure

Second-Hand Smoke

  • What is second-hand smoke?
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Carcinogens in tobacco smoke
  • Health effects of second-hand smoke

What is second-hand smoke?

Second-hand smoke contains over 4000 chemicals and is a mix of mainstream smoke exhaled by smokers and sidestream smoke emitted from the tips of burning cigarettes. Second-hand smoke is also known as passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Most public health authorities will use the term second-hand smoke as opposed to ETS because the latter infers a relationship between tobacco smoke and the environment in general resulting in confusion about its exact meaning.

Continued



Background

In 2000, the government of Canada put in place the Tobacco Reporting Regulations (TRR) in part to obtain more current and relevant information about toxic substances in tobacco products and their smoke. The regulations require tobacco manufacturers and importers to provide Health Canada with laboratory measurements of selected toxic substances found in the unburnt tobacco of consumer tobacco products1 and in the smoke of designated tobacco products2.


Nature of information collected on constituents and emissions

Health Canada requires tobacco companies to report information about 26 chemical constituents found in tobacco and 41 chemical emissions found in tobacco smoke (see the lists below). These chemicals have been identified by researchers as being of interest from a public health perspective.


Constituents data submitted to Health Canada

Data is submitted to Health Canada about each of the following substances found in the tobacco of consumer tobacco products:

Nicotine, Nornicotine, Anabasine, Myosmine, Anatabine, Ammonia, Glycerol, Propylene glycol, Triethylene glycol, Nickel, Lead, Cadmium, Chromium, Arsenic, Selenium, Mercury, Benzo[a]pyrene, Nitrate,  N-nitrosonornicotine,  4-(N-nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone, N-nitrosoanatabine, N-nitrosoanabasine, Triacetin, Sodium propionate, Sorbic Acid, Eugenol


Emissions data submitted to Health Canada

Data is submitted to Health Canada about each of the following substances found in the smoke of designated tobacco products:

Tar, Nicotine, Carbon Monoxide, Ammonia, 1-Aminonaphthalene, 2-Aminonaphthalene, 3-Aminobiphenyl, 4-Aminobiphenyl, Benzo[a]pyrene, Formaldehyde, Acetaldehyde, Acetone, Acrolein, Propionaldehyde, Crotonaldehyde, Butyraldehyde,  Hydrogen Cyanide, Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, NO, NOx, N- nitrosonornicotine,  4-(N-nitrosomethylamino)-1(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone, N-nitrosoanatabine, N-nitrosoanabasine, Pyridine, Quinoline, Styrene, Hydroquinone, Resorcinol, Cathecol, Phenol, m + p Cresol, o-Cresol, 1,3 Butadiene, Isoprene, Acrylonitrile, Benzene, Toluene, Eugenol


Measuring constituents and emissions...

Constituents

The types and amounts of chemicals found in tobacco leaves are affected by the soil in which the plants are grown. During processing, the chemical composition of the leaf may also be altered, either naturally or by design.

To prepare their reports for Health Canada, tobacco manufacturers and importers send sample consumer tobacco products to laboratories accredited to perform Health Canada's official methods. These laboratories test the samples for the selected constituents (see above list). Tobacco manufacturers and importers are then required to report back to Health Canada the amounts of the various constituents measured. 

For a copy of Health Canada's official methods for the testing of constituents, please consult Health Canada's Tobacco Reporting Regulations section.


Emissions

When a designated tobacco product such as a cigarette is lit, the burning process transforms most of the tobacco and paper into smoke and ash. During this process, more than 4,000 chemicals are released into the smoke, including more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals.

During testing, the smoke emissions are collected using smoking machines. These machines use suction to puff on the products. The machines collect both the mainstream smoke (released through the mouthpiece of the designated tobacco product) and the sidestream smoke (released from the lit end of the product into the air).

The smoking machines collect the smoke using two test conditions designed to take into account two very different styles of smoking:

Under the ISO conditions3, the smoking machine...

  1. takes a small puff (volume of 35 mL) on the lit designated tobacco product with the ventilation holes on the product's filter tip left uncovered
  2. pauses for 60 seconds, and
  3. repeats until the product has burned down to a specified butt length.

Under the "modified" ISO conditions, the smoking machine...

  1. takes a bigger puff (volume of 55 mL) on the lit product with the ventilation holes on the filter tip blocked
  2. pauses for 30 seconds, and
  3. repeats until the product has burned down to a specified butt length.

For a copy of Health Canada's official methods for the testing of mainstream and sidestream emissions, please consult Health Canada's Tobacco Reporting Regulations section.


What should you know about machine measured yields?

No smoking machine can accurately reproduce people's very complex smoking behaviour.  Smokers' behaviour varies from cigarette to cigarette and from person to person.  It follows that the reported tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields do not reflect the actual amount of tar, nicotine or carbon monoxide one gets from smoking a cigarette. Actual amounts are affected by puff volume, the number of puffs, and the extent to which a smoker covers the ventilation holes in the filter tip with his or her lips or fingers. In the end, each smoker will be exposed to different amounts of chemicals.

Even though measured yields are not designed to compare, nor accurately reflect, the exposure one gets from smoking different brands of cigarettes, testing with smoking machines is useful for research purposes.  For example, the tests provide information about the changes in the chemical profile of cigarette smoke over time and under different smoking conditions.

No differences in toxicity across cigarette brands should be concluded from the yield numbers.  A small number of toxicity tests have been developed for this purpose, but their value for comparison has not yet been validated.

What about the toxic emissions listing on tobacco packages?

The listing of toxic emissions on tobacco packages changed in June 2001.  For more information, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions section.

Available Upon Request

To obtain an electronic file with detailed information about the constituents and emissions of cigarettes sold in Canada in 2004, by brand, please contact Health Canada by e-mail at TRR_RRRT@hc-sc.gc.ca or by mail care of:

Tobacco Control Programme
Health Canada
AL 3507C1, 123 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
(Please specify your return address.)


The list of emission levels of six toxic chemicals released when smoking which will be posted on your favorite tobacco brand, however, since these ... Formaldehyde, Acetaldehyde, o-cresol, Selenium, Lead, Hydroquinone, Styrene, Benzene, Nornicotine, Propionaldeyde, Catechol, Anatabine, m+p-cresols, Hydrogen Cyanide, Nitrate, 3-aminobiphenyl, Resorcinol, Glycerol, 4-(N-nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), Isoprene, Quinoline, Nicotine, Chromium, Anabasine, Toluene, Cadmium, Myosmine, Sorbic Acid, Tri-ethylene Glycol, Carbon Monoxide, NO, NOx, Ammonia, Butyraldehyde, Nitrosoanabasine (NAB), Crotonaldehyde, Pyridine, Nitrosonornicotine (NNN), Nickel, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Propionate, Acetone, 4-aminobiphenyl, Acrolein, Benzo[a]pyrene, 1,3-butadiene, Phenol, Nitrosoanatabine (NAT), Acrylonitrile, 2-aminonaphthalene, Triacetine, Arsenic, 1-aminonaphthalene, Tar, Mercury are the problem ... how can listing "6 Chosen Ones" make any sort of difference ?



Other Sources of information

The government of British Columbia also provides information on mainstream smoke and sidestream smoke emissions. Please visit the Next link will take you to another Web site British Columbia Ministry of Health website.

Appendix A

Overview of the 2004 Cigarette Data Set

Constituents

This data set provides information on 25 constituents for 248 cigarette brands.  It includes the weight of tobacco per cigarette and the pH for each brand.

Emissions- Mainstream Smoke (Standard ISO conditions)

This data set provides information on three emissions for 249 cigarette brands and on 40 emissions for 90 brands.  It includes the weight of tobacco per cigarette, the puff count and the pH for each brand.

Emissions- Mainstream Smoke ("modified" ISO conditions)

This data set provides information on three emissions for 240 cigarette brands and on 40 emissions for 90 brands.  It includes the weight of tobacco per cigarette, the puff count and the pH for Each brand.


Emissions- Sidestream Smoke

This data set provides information on three emissions for 249 cigarette brands and on 40 emissions for 90 brands.  It includes the weight of tobacco per cigarette and the puff count for each brand.

Note: The data was not generated by Health Canada.  Therefore, Health Canada cannot take responsibility for its accuracy.



1 Consumer tobacco products:  cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, leaf tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco, tobacco sticks, kreteks, bidis and smokeless tobacco

2 Designated tobacco products: cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, leaf tobacco, tobacco sticks and kreteks

3 ISO conditions refer to the smoking conditions set out in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 3308, entitled "Routine analytical cigarette-smoking machine- Definitions and standard conditions"


Toxic emissions

The list of emission levels of six toxic chemicals released when smoking will be printed on a side of the package. This information is in the form of a range (a low number and a high number) that reflects how people smoke differently.

For example, when the pack declares "Carbon monoxide 15-28mg", you will now know that you are inhaling significant amounts of this noxious chemical. Since no two individuals smoke the same way, the new measurement standards give a better idea of the range of toxic chemicals to which you are exposed when smoking.

Current* vs. previous indications of emission levels


Emission Levels


Previous

Current *

Tar

8mg

8 - 29mg

Nicotine

1mg

1 - 2.6mg

Carbon Monoxide

9mg

9 - 27mg

Formaldehyde

n/a

0.035 - 0.13mg

Hydrogen Cyanide

n/a

0.073 - 0.25mg

Benzene

n/a

0.034 - 0.08mg

Emission levels for a cigarette sold in Canada.

* Providing a low and high range for emission levels of these toxic chemicals is reflective of how people smoke differently and provides a better idea of the range of toxic chemicals to which people are exposed when smoking. The best way to reduce the potential health risks associated with these toxic chemicals is to quit!

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