12.6 Comparison of Australian cigarettes in different yield categories

Table 12.6.1. compares Australian brands in the six 'tar bands' in 1994. As can be seen, average filter ventilation and average filter weight increase steadily as nominal tar yield decreases. Percent nicotine, estimated total available nicotine and tobacco weight did not vary markedly across the six tar bands. In fact, mean percent nicotine contents were highest in the '1mg or less' and '2mg or less' tar bands. So while reducing nicotine levels in unburned tobacco provides a potential means of reducing nicotine yields, this did not actually occur.

Table 12.6.1
Comparison of Australian brands in the six nominal yield 'tar bands' 1994; mean performance and construction figures

Nominal tar yield

1mg

2mg

4mg

8mg

12mg

16mg

Tar yield (CPM), mg

1.29

2.36

3.41

6.4

8.91

10.87

Nicotine yield, mg

0.19

0.30

0.40

0.68

0.91

1.00

Carbon monoxide yield, mg

1.81

2.79

3.6

6.2

8.18

9.88

Filter weight, mg

141

123

119

103

97

92

Ventilation %

77

69

62

36

21

4

Nicotine %

2.5

2.5

2.3

2.3

2.4

2.4

Tobacco weight, mg

523

496

543

549

558

564

Available nicotine, mg

11.3

10.6

10.7

11.1

11.5

11.6

Source: Data from Ruff (1994)1

A range of other construction factors that can potentially be used to reduce standard ISO tar and nicotine yields, including the permeability of the paper wrapping the tobacco rod and the density of packing of the tobacco, also did not vary systematically across the 'tar bands'. This underscores the importance of filter ventilation within the Australian market for producing variation in taste/ harshness characteristics and tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields.

While 'tar bands' no longer exist for the labelling of Australian cigarettes, major brand families continue to have six or more varieties, identified by various 'smooth and fine' descriptors, as well as colour coding of packs. Whether the specific engineering differences that underlay the brand varieties in 1994 persist in 2007 is a question that deserves to be answered through either research or disclosures by the tobacco industry.

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References

1. Ruff R. Report no. 84. Philip Morris. Bates No: 2057967669/7753. 1994, [viewed December 13, 2001]. Available from: http://www.pmdocs.com/PDF/2057967669_7753_0.PDF

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