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For the first time, Health Canada is making public information collected from tobacco companies about cigarette constituents and emissions. This information is collected by Health Canada about each brand of cigarettes, pursuant to the requirements of the Tobacco Act. Health Canada is releasing this data on request to provide Canadians with a better overall picture of the amounts of selected toxic substances found in tobacco and cigarette smoke. This information should be particularly useful to researchers and health groups interested in increasing awareness of the health hazards associated with tobacco use. Appendix A gives more detail on the contents of the data set collected for the year 2004 that is being released.
To find out how to request the data set, consult the Available Upon Request section.
In 2000, the government of Canada put in place the Tobacco Reporting Regulations (TRR) in part to obtain more current and relevant information about toxic substances in tobacco products and their smoke. The regulations require tobacco manufacturers and importers to provide Health Canada with laboratory measurements of selected toxic substances found in the unburnt tobacco of consumer tobacco products1 and in the smoke of designated tobacco products2.
Health Canada requires tobacco companies to report information about 26 chemical constituents found in tobacco and 41 chemical emissions found in tobacco smoke (see the lists below). These chemicals have been identified by researchers as being of interest from a public health perspective.
Data is submitted to Health Canada about each of the following substances found in the tobacco of consumer tobacco products:
Nicotine, Nornicotine, Anabasine, Myosmine, Anatabine, Ammonia, Glycerol, Propylene glycol, Triethylene glycol, Nickel, Lead, Cadmium, Chromium, Arsenic, Selenium, Mercury, Benzo[a]pyrene, Nitrate, N-nitrosonornicotine, 4-(N-nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone, N-nitrosoanatabine, N-nitrosoanabasine, Triacetin, Sodium propionate, Sorbic Acid, Eugenol
Data is submitted to Health Canada about each of the following substances found in the smoke of designated tobacco products:
Tar, Nicotine, Carbon Monoxide, Ammonia, 1-Aminonaphthalene, 2-Aminonaphthalene, 3-Aminobiphenyl, 4-Aminobiphenyl, Benzo[a]pyrene, Formaldehyde, Acetaldehyde, Acetone, Acrolein, Propionaldehyde, Crotonaldehyde, Butyraldehyde, Hydrogen Cyanide, Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, NO, NOx, N- nitrosonornicotine, 4-(N-nitrosomethylamino)-1(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone, N-nitrosoanatabine, N-nitrosoanabasine, Pyridine, Quinoline, Styrene, Hydroquinone, Resorcinol, Cathecol, Phenol, m + p Cresol, o-Cresol, 1,3 Butadiene, Isoprene, Acrylonitrile, Benzene, Toluene, Eugenol
The types and amounts of chemicals found in tobacco leaves are affected by the soil in which the plants are grown. During processing, the chemical composition of the leaf may also be altered, either naturally or by design.
To prepare their reports for Health Canada, tobacco manufacturers and importers send sample consumer tobacco products to laboratories accredited to perform Health Canada's official methods. These laboratories test the samples for the selected constituents (see above list). Tobacco manufacturers and importers are then required to report back to Health Canada the amounts of the various constituents measured.
For a copy of Health Canada's official methods for the testing of constituents, please consult Health Canada's Tobacco Reporting Regulations section.
When a designated tobacco product such as a cigarette is lit, the burning process transforms most of the tobacco and paper into smoke and ash. During this process, more than 4,000 chemicals are released into the smoke, including more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals.
During testing, the smoke emissions are collected using smoking machines. These machines use suction to puff on the products. The machines collect both the mainstream smoke (released through the mouthpiece of the designated tobacco product) and the sidestream smoke (released from the lit end of the product into the air).
The smoking machines collect the smoke using two test conditions designed to take into account two very different styles of smoking:
Under the ISO conditions3, the smoking machine...
Under the "modified" ISO conditions, the smoking machine...
For a copy of Health Canada's official methods for the testing of mainstream and sidestream emissions, please consult Health Canada's Tobacco Reporting Regulations section.
No smoking machine can accurately reproduce people's very complex smoking behaviour. Smokers' behaviour varies from cigarette to cigarette and from person to person. It follows that the reported tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields do not reflect the actual amount of tar, nicotine or carbon monoxide one gets from smoking a cigarette. Actual amounts are affected by puff volume, the number of puffs, and the extent to which a smoker covers the ventilation holes in the filter tip with his or her lips or fingers. In the end, each smoker will be exposed to different amounts of chemicals.
Even though measured yields are not designed to compare, nor accurately reflect, the exposure one gets from smoking different brands of cigarettes, testing with smoking machines is useful for research purposes. For example, the tests provide information about the changes in the chemical profile of cigarette smoke over time and under different smoking conditions.
No differences in toxicity across cigarette brands should be concluded from the yield numbers. A small number of toxicity tests have been developed for this purpose, but their value for comparison has not yet been validated.
The listing of toxic emissions on tobacco packages changed in June 2001. For more information, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions section.
To obtain an electronic file with detailed information about the constituents and emissions of cigarettes sold in Canada in 2004, by brand, please contact Health Canada by e-mail at TRR_RRRT@hc-sc.gc.ca or by mail care of:
Tobacco Control Programme
AL 3507C1, 123 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
(Please specify your return address.)
The government of British Columbia also provides information on mainstream smoke and sidestream smoke emissions. Please visit the British Columbia Ministry of Health website.
This data set provides information on 25 constituents for 248 cigarette brands. It includes the weight of tobacco per cigarette and the pH for each brand.
This data set provides information on three emissions for 249 cigarette brands and on 40 emissions for 90 brands. It includes the weight of tobacco per cigarette, the puff count and the pH for each brand.
This data set provides information on three emissions for 240 cigarette brands and on 40 emissions for 90 brands. It includes the weight of tobacco per cigarette, the puff count and the pH for each brand.
This data set provides information on three emissions for 249 cigarette brands and on 40 emissions for 90 brands. It includes the weight of tobacco per cigarette and the puff count for each brand.
Note: The data was not generated by Health Canada. Therefore, Health Canada cannot take responsibility for its accuracy.
2 Designated tobacco products: cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, leaf tobacco, tobacco sticks and kreteks
3 ISO conditions refer to the smoking conditions set out in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 3308, entitled "Routine analytical cigarette-smoking machine- Definitions and standard conditions"