Changes in reported tar yields and cigarette design in samples of Chinese cigarettes, 2009-2012
Schneller, Liane Margaret
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The Chinese tobacco industry has been under the control of the government since the 1950s, and there is little done to control tobacco and its use. Due to the displaying of ISO TNCO yields on the cigarette pack, many consumers believe "low tar/light" cigarettes are healthier. In addition, high heavy metal contents in the tobacco are worrisome for the smoker's health. The repeated exposure to these toxins can be attributed to the addiction to nicotine. This study looks at the change in Chinese cigarettes reported ISO TNCO yields and cigarette design from 2009 to 2012. Cigarettes analyzed in this study were purchased from seven cities in China and shipped to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Ninety-one pairs were found using UPC matching for the recording of ISO TNCO emissions, cigarette design testing, trace metal analysis, and the quantification of the tobacco rod nicotine content. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS, looking at descriptive statistics, correlations, change in time using generalized estimating equations and an independent sample t-Test, and the reliability of the tobacco rod nicotine data. Reported TNCO yields decreased on average in each case from 2009 to 2012 (7.9%, 4.5% and 5.7%, respectively). Ventilation was found to be a predictor of TNCO yields and was the only design feature that significantly changed overtime (p < 0.001), increasing 31.7%. From 2009 to 2012, the mean concentrations of As, Cd, and Pb significantly decreased (As: p = 0.032, Cd: p = 0.045, and Pb: p < 0.001, respectively). There was an insignificant change in tobacco rod nicotine content overtime, but a significance at the 0.01 level correlation with ISO nicotine (Spearman Correlation = 0.400) and many metals. It is important that China improves cigarette pack warning labels, removes ISO TNCO levels from the cigarette pack, and regulates tobacco rod heavy metal and nicotine content. Overall, in China the government should control the tobacco business more and promote public to reduce tobacco related disease and death.