Smoking topography parameters differ substantially between individual smokers and may lead to significant variation in tobacco smoke exposure and risk for tobacco-caused diseases. However, to date, little is known regarding the impact of individual puff parameters on the delivery of many harmful smoke constituents including carbonyls. To examine this, we determined the effect of altering individual puff parameters on mainstream smoke carbonyl levels in machine-smoked reference cigarettes. Carbonyls including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, crotonaldehyde, propionaldehyde, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), acrolein, and acetone were determined in cigarette smoke by HPLC after derivatization with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH). Deliveries of all carbonyls were nearly two-fold greater when cigarettes were smoked according to the more intense Health Canada Intense (HCI) protocol compared to the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) method, consistent with the two-fold difference in total puff volume between methods (ISO: 280-315 mL; CI: 495-605 mL). When individual topography parameters were assessed, changes in puff volume alone had the greatest effect on carbonyl delivery as predicted with total carbonyls being strongly correlated with overall puff volume (r2: 0.52-0.99) regardless of how the differences in volume were achieved. All seven of the carbonyls examined showed a similar relationship with puff volume. Minor effects on carbonyl levels were observed from vent blocking and changing the interpuff interval, while effects of changing puff duration and peak flow rate were minimal. Overall, these results highlight the importance of considering topography, especially puff volume, when the toxicant delivery and potential exposure smokers receive are assessed. The lack of an impact of other behaviors, including puff intensity and duration independent of volume, indicate that factors such as temperature and peak flow rate may have minimal overall effects on carbonyl production and delivery.
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