An experimental method to study emissions from heated tobacco between 100-200°C

Chem Cent J. 2015 Apr 16;9:20. doi: 10.1186/s13065-015-0096-1. eCollection 2015.


Background: Cigarette smoke emissions are mainly produced by distillation, pyrolysis and combustion reactions when the tobacco is burnt. Some studies have shown that heating tobacco to temperatures below pyrolysis and combustion temperatures has the potential to reduce or eliminate some toxicants found in cigarette smoke. In this study, we designed a bench-top tube furnace that heats tobacco between 100-200°C and systematically studied the effects of heating temperatures on selected gas phase and aerosol phase compounds using an ISO machine-smoking protocol.

Results: Among a list of target chemical compounds, seven toxicants (nicotine, carbon monoxide, acetaldehyde, crotonaldehyde, formaldehyde, NNN and NNK) were quantifiable but not at all temperatures examined. The levels of the compounds generally displayed an increasing trend with increasing temperatures. The observed carbon monoxide and aldehydes represented the initial thermal breakdown products from the tobacco constituents. Water was the largest measured component in the total aerosol phase collected and appeared to be mainly released by evaporation; nicotine release characteristics were consistent with bond breaking and evaporation. Quantifiable levels of NNK and NNN were thought to be the result of evaporative transfer from the tobacco blend.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate the practical utility of this tool to study low-temperature toxicant formation and emission from heated tobacco. Between 100 to 200°C, nicotine and some cigarette smoke compounds were released as a result of evaporative transfer or initial thermal decomposition from the tobacco blend.

Keywords: Aerosol; Emission; Tobacco heating; Toxicant.