Benzene, benzo(a)pyrene, and lead in smoke from tobacco products other than cigarettes

Am J Public Health. 1990 May;80(5):560-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.80.5.560.


Benzene, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), and lead in mainstream smoke from cigars, roll-your-own (RYO) cigarette and pipe tobaccos were sampled to evaluate their potential health significance. Results with reference cigarettes were consistent with published values, providing support for the methodology employed. The emissions of benzene and BaP, expressed as mass emitted per gram of tobacco consumed, were similar for all products evaluated; for benzene, the mean values for cigars, RYO cigarette and pipe tobaccos were 156 +/- 52, 68 +/- 11, and 242 +/- 126 micrograms/g, respectively. Mean values for BaP were 42 +/- 7 and 48 +/- 4 ng/g for cigars and RYO cigarette tobacco, respectively. Lead values were below the limit of reliable quantitation in all cases. The mean benzene concentrations in a puff ranged from 1 to 2 x 10(5) micrograms/m3 for cigars, RYO cigarette and pipe tobaccos. For BaP, the puff concentration averaged about 60 micrograms/m3 for cigars and RYO cigarette tobacco. The results suggest that smoking cigars, pipes or RYO cigarettes leads to potential exposures which exceed the No Significant Risk levels of benzene and BaP set pursuant to California's Proposition 65. These tobacco products are now required to bear a health hazard warning when sold in California. We recommend that this be adopted as national policy.

MeSH terms

  • Benzene / analysis*
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / analysis*
  • California
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Lead / analysis*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Product Labeling / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Tobacco*


  • Smoke
  • Lead
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • Benzene