Tobacco smoke-related health effects induced by 1,3-butadiene and strategies for risk reduction

Toxicol Sci. 2013 Dec;136(2):566-80. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kft194. Epub 2013 Sep 6.


1,3-Butadiene (BD) is a smoke component selected by the World Health Organization (WHO) study group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg) for mandated lowering. We examined the tobacco smoke-related health effects induced by BD and possible health impacts of risk reduction strategies. BD levels in mainstream smoke (MSS) from international and Canadian cigarettes and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) were derived from scientific journals and international government reports. Dose-response analyses from toxicity studies from government reports were evaluated and the most sensitive cancer and noncancer endpoints were selected. The risks were evaluated by taking the ratio (margin of exposure, MOE) from the most sensitive toxicity endpoint and appropriate exposure estimates for BD in MSS and ETS. BD is a good choice for lowering given that MSS and ETS were at levels for cancer (leukemia) and noncancer (ovarian atrophy) risks, and the risks can be significantly lowered when lowering the BD concentrations in smoke. Several risk reduction strategies were analyzed including a maximum level of 125% of the median BD value per milligram nicotine obtained from international brands as recommended by the WHO TobReg, tobacco substitute sheets, dual and triple carbon filters, and polymer-derived carbon. The use of tobacco substitute sheet with a polymer-derived carbon filter resulted in the most significant change in risk for cancer and noncancer effects. Our results demonstrate that MOE analysis might be a practical way to assess the impact of risk reduction strategies on human health in the future.

Keywords: 1,3-butadiene; mandated lowering; margin of exposure.; risk reduction strategies; smoke components.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Butadienes / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Nicotiana*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Smoke*


  • Butadienes
  • Smoke
  • 1,3-butadiene