Toxicological comparisons were made of three commercial cigarettes, namely Marlboro full flavor, Marlboro Lights, and Marlboro Ultra Lights, with the 1R4F reference cigarette. The main comparison was a 90-d inhalation study with mainstream smoke at 150 mg total particulate matter per cubic meter, in Sprague-Dawley rats using 6 h/d and 7 d/w exposures. The principal endpoint was histopathology of the respiratory tract, along with examinations of free lung cell counts after broncho-alveolar lavage. Additional studies on mainstream smoke included Salmonella mutagenicity, cytotoxicity of particulate and gas/vapor phases, and analytical chemistry. The exposures produced effectively the same responses in each of the four groups, and the histopathology results in the commercial cigarette groups were also effectively the same. The 1R4F was also tested at 75 and 200 mg/m(3), and most of the histopathology results obtained here showed dose-response relationships. The free lung cell responses were similar in the 1R4F/commercial cigarette comparison, and there were dose-related changes in the 1R4F groups, most notably for neutrophils. Most of the changes produced in the 90-d of exposure were resolved in a 42-d post-inhalation period. Responses in the in vitro and analytical assays for the four cigarettes were in general similar, when data were expressed either per mg TPM or per mg tar yield. There were judged to be no toxicologically meaningful differences between the profiles evaluated at similar smoke concentrations for the three commercial cigarettes and for the 1R4F using these assays.