Hazardous compounds in tobacco smoke

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Feb;8(2):613-28. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8020613. Epub 2011 Feb 23.


Tobacco smoke is a toxic and carcinogenic mixture of more than 5,000 chemicals. The present article provides a list of 98 hazardous smoke components, based on an extensive literature search for known smoke components and their human health inhalation risks. An electronic database of smoke components containing more than 2,200 entries was generated. Emission levels in mainstream smoke have been found for 542 of the components and a human inhalation risk value for 98 components. As components with potential carcinogenic, cardiovascular and respiratory effects have been included, the three major smoke-related causes of death are all covered by the list. Given that the currently used Hoffmann list of hazardous smoke components is based on data from the 1990s and only includes carcinogens, it is recommended that the current list of 98 hazardous components is used for regulatory purposes instead. To enable risk assessment of components not covered by this list, thresholds of toxicological concern (TTC) have been established from the inhalation risk values found: 0.0018 μg day(-1) for all risks, and 1.2 μg day(-1) for all risks excluding carcinogenicity, the latter being similar to previously reported inhalation TTCs.

Keywords: Hoffmann list; TTC; risk assessment; smoke component; tobacco product regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases as Topic
  • Hazardous Substances / analysis*
  • Hazardous Substances / toxicity
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis*


  • Hazardous Substances
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution