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The Incidence and Consequences of Filter Vent Blocking Amongst British Smokers

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Vent blocking, the intentional or unintentional covering of the filter ventilation holes during smoking, is an aspect of smoking behaviour which could influence mainstream smoke yields. This study was designed to determine if, and to what extent, vent blocking by smokers’ lips occurs. Three groups of British smokers were asked to smoke their own brand of cigarette which was either an unventilated filter brand, or one of two brands containing different levels of filter ventilation. 300 Smokers were used in each group and the filter butts were collected. Approximately 10 filter butts per smoker were collected. The filter tipping papers were removed and treated with a ninhydrin solution. This stained the saliva imprint on the paper so that the mouth insertion depth of the cigarette could be measured. In addition, levels of retained nicotine on the filters were also determined. This, together with the known filtration efficiencies of the filter, enabled an estimate to be made of the mainstream nicotine yield of the cigarette during the smoking. The results indicate that British smokers have an average insertion depth of about 8.5 mm. 85 % of the ventilated filters examined showed no vent coverage by the smokers’ lips, 15 % showed some coverage. Based on the techniques used in the present study it appears that the presence or absence of filter ventilation zone coverage by lips is not reflected in the estimated nicotine yields to smokers. It is likely that other smoker behaviour factors have a more substantial role in determining nicotine yields within each cigarette delivery category.

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General Interest, Life Sciences, other, Physics