Blocking filter vents increases carbon monoxide levels from ultralight, but not light cigarettes

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1998 Mar;59(3):767-73. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(97)00567-4.


Effect of vent blocking on carbon monoxide (CO) exposure from a best-selling light cigarette was examined in 12 daily cigarette smokers. Mean CO boosts were not different from each other with (a) 0% filter vents blocked (5.0 ppm), (b) vents covered with lips (4.9 ppm), (c) 50% of vents covered with tape (4.8 ppm), and (d) vents covered with a pinch of the fingertips (4.9 ppm). A second study in another 12 smokers was conducted to replicate these findings as well as earlier findings that blocking vents doubles CO intake from 1-mg tar cigarettes. While blocking half the vents with fingers significantly increased CO boost from ultralight cigarettes (2.8 vs. 5.4 ppm, p < 0.001), it did not influence boosts from light cigarettes (6.3 vs. 6.5 ppm, p = 0.8). The lowest yield cigarettes (1 mg tar) may be special. Smoking machine simulations provide poor models of human smoke intake. It is unclear whether tar and nicotine intake from light cigarettes was influenced by vent blocking.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Carbon Monoxide / blood*
  • Female
  • Filtration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smoking / metabolism*


  • Carbon Monoxide