Background: This report presents new findings on the composition of the three best-selling brands of commercially produced Thai cigarettes, representing about 80% of market share in Thailand, and six best-selling tobacco products, including hand-rolled cigarettes and cigars.
Results: With one exception, all Thai cigarettes yielded higher levels of tar and nicotine than U.S. brands sold in Thailand. High levels of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide (CO) were found in the smoke of popular Thai cigars (Khiyo) and Burmese cigars sold in Thailand. All tobacco products tested were ranked in order of smoke yields of tar (cigarettes, 4.5 to 40.8 mg/cigarette), nicotine (0.19 to 5.77 mg/cigarette), and CO (3.1 to 9.5 mg/cigarette). The labels "very strong," "strong," and "mild," used in rating the tobacco quality by the growers in Thailand, were not found to reflect the relative nicotine and tar yields. From 1985-1990, per capita consumption of cigarettes in Thailand increased 1.4-fold.
Conclusion: This report provides information that may prove helpful in the evaluation of the tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide yields of cigarettes and cigars in Thailand compared with levels in U.S. cigarettes. It is our goal to offer the scientific basis for voluntary and/or regulated reduction of the smoke yields of tobacco products in Thailand.