Behavioral filter vent blocking on the first cigarette of the day predicts which smokers of light cigarettes will increase smoke exposure from blocked vents

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009 Dec;17(6):405-12. doi: 10.1037/a0017649.


Filter vent blocking on best-selling light cigarettes increases smoke yield during standard machine testing but not in clinical investigations of smokers. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of (a) manipulating cigarette filter vent blocking and (b) blocking status of first cigarette of the day on carbon monoxide (CO) boost. Participants (n = 25; Marlboro Lights nonmenthol cigarette smokers, age range 21-60 years, minimum 15 daily cigarettes, and daily smoking for a minimum 5 years) completed the laboratory-based, within-subject, double-blind, cross-over design of 2 smoking sessions, one utilizing a smoking topography device, one without. Each session consisted of smoking 4 cigarettes; 2 with filter vents blocked and 2 with filter vents unblocked. Spent first daily cigarette filters collected between sessions were scored for evidence of filter vent blocking. Smoking cigarettes with blocked filter vents significantly increased CO boost in both laboratory sessions (p < .001). Those who blocked their first cigarette of the day (n = 10) had significantly greater CO boost when smoking a blocked cigarette, in relation to smoking an unblocked cigarette and in comparison with nonblockers (p = .04). Total puff volume was a significant predictor of CO boost when smoking unblocked and blocked cigarettes (ps < .04). Blocking filter vents significantly increased smoke exposure in relation to when filter vents are not blocked, particularly for those who block filter vents on their first cigarette of the day. Total puff volume predicted CO boost, and results suggest that smokers adjust their smoking behavior by cigarette blocking status. Those smokers who block filter vents may be increasing their exposure by 30%.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Female
  • Filtration / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Smoking / metabolism
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Tobacco*
  • Young Adult


  • Carbon Monoxide