Brand cigarillos--a cheap and less harmful alternative to cigarettes? Particulate matter emissions suggest otherwise

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jan 6;12(1):428-38. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120100428.


Background: Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)-associated particulate matter (PM) constitutes a considerable health risk for passive smokers. It ought to be assessed separately from the other known toxic compounds of tobacco smoke. Brand-specific differences between cigarettes and particularly between cigarettes and favorably taxed cigarillos, are of public interest and therefore worth being investigated.

Methods: An automatic environmental tobacco smoke emitter (AETSE) was developed to generate cigarette and cigarillo smoke in a reliable and reproducible way. John Player Special (JPS) Red cigarettes, JPS filter cigarillos and 3R4F standard research cigarettes were smoked automatically in a 2.88 m3 glass chamber according to a standardized protocol until 5 cm from the top were burned down.

Results: Mean concentrations (Cmean) and area of the curve (AUC) of PM2.5 were measured and compared. Cmean PM2.5 were found to be 804 µg/m3 for 3R4F reference cigarettes, 1633 µg/m3 for JPS cigarettes, and 1059 µg/m3 for JPS filter cigarillos. AUC PM2.5-values are 433,873 µg/m3×s for 3R4F reference cigarettes, 534,267 µg/m3×s for JPS Red cigarettes and 782,850 µg/m3×s for JPS filter cigarillos.

Conclusion: Potential brand-specific differences of ETS-associated PM emissions among brands of cigarettes, and between cigarettes and cigarillos of the same brand and size should be investigated and published. Information about relative PM-emissions should be printed on the package.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity
  • Area Under Curve
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter / analysis*
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity
  • Tobacco Products / analysis*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution