Embargoed for release: Wednesday, August 25, 9:15 a.m., Eastern Time
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A new test for one of the thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke has the potential for more accurately estimating smokers’ mouth level exposure and may have applications for developing custom-tailored quitting approaches for the more than 43 million people in the United States who still smoke, and hundreds of millions elsewhere, scientists said here today.
In a report at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), they described development of a way to measure mainstream smoke deliveries of select chemicals that an individual smoker consumes on a per cigarette basis. It provides a much more accurate estimate of exposure than using automated cigarette smoking machines to estimate mainstream smoke deliveries, which traditionally have been used.
“Historically, our knowledge about the amounts of carcinogens, nicotine, and tar produced by cigarettes is based on data from smoking machines,” Clifford Watson, Ph.D., explained. “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.” Watson and colleagues based the method on previous research involving a substance naturally present in tobacco called solanesol. The scientists removed filters from cigarette butts and measured the solanesol content. Their findings indicate that measuring solanesol does provide a quick, inexpensive way to estimate a smoker’s total exposure, in a way that more closely reflects their natural smoking habits.