Cadmium, lead, and thallium in mainstream tobacco smoke particulate

Food Chem Toxicol. 2006 May;44(5):714-23. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2005.10.004. Epub 2005 Nov 23.


The deliveries of cadmium, thallium, and lead in mainstream smoke particulate from cigarettes with different smoke delivery designs were determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry in order to investigate their impact on the delivery of these known toxic compounds. Analyses showed that the levels of all three metals in smoke particulate were associated with their tar delivery category. After normalizing the metal concentrations to tar, there were no longer any statistically significant delivery differences between full-flavor, light or ultra-light cigarettes. When the concentrations were normalized to nicotine, the mean levels from the three delivery groups were much smaller than before normalization. But unlike the case using tar to normalize, in some of the cases, there were still some statistically significant differences in the nicotine-normalized results. These findings suggest that if smokers compensate for differences in nicotine intake, they receive exposures to toxic heavy metals from ultra-light, light and full-flavor cigarettes that are more similar than results would suggest from using the Federal Trade Commission method alone.

MeSH terms

  • Cadmium / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Lead / analysis*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Tars / analysis*
  • Thallium / analysis*
  • Tobacco / chemistry*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis
  • Volatilization


  • Smoke
  • Tars
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • tobacco tar
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Thallium