Effects of Charcoal on Carbonyl Delivery from Commercial, Research, and Make-Your-Own Cigarettes

Samantha M. Reilly, Reema Goel, Neil Trushin, Zachary T. Bitzer, Ryan J. Elias, Joshua Muscat, John P. Richie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Previous literature has shown that adding charcoal to cigarette filters can have varying effects on the delivery of toxic carbonyls depending on filter design, amount of charcoal, and puffing profiles. However, these studies have relied on either comparisons between commercially available charcoal and noncharcoal filtered cigarettes or experimental modification of filters to insert a charcoal plug into existing cellulose acetate filters. Make-your-own (MYO) cigarettes can help obviate many of the potential pitfalls of previous studies; thus, we conducted studies using commercial charcoal cigarettes and MYO cigarettes to determine the effects of charcoal on carbonyl delivery. To do this, we analyzed carbonyls in mainstream smoke by HPLC-UV after derivatization with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH). Charcoal was added in-line after the cigarettes or through the use of MYO charcoal cigarette tubes. MYO cigarettes had carbonyl deliveries similar to that of 3R4F research cigarette, regardless of tobacco type. The greatest effect on carbonyl delivery was observed with 200 mg of charcoal, significantly reducing all carbonyls under both methods tested. However, "on-tow" design charcoal filters, available on many commercially available charcoal brands, appeared to have a minimal effect on carbonyl delivery under intense smoking methods. Overall, we found that charcoal, when added in sufficient quantity (200 mg) as a plug, can substantially reduce carbonyl delivery for both MYO and conventional cigarettes. As carbonyls are related to negative health outcomes, such reductions may be associated with reductions in carbonyl-related harm in smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1347
Number of pages9
JournalChemical research in toxicology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 17 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


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