BAT Science - Cigarette components

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Cigarette components

Schematic of a cigarette

A cigarette is comprised of various components, all of which can affect the performance of the product including the emissions of toxicants.

The three main types of tobacco leaf used in current cigarettes are Virginia, Burley and Oriental.  Each has different fundamental characteristics.  The characteristics of these tobacco types will also vary depending on their variety, cultivation practices and environmental conditions.

The paper around the tobacco rod can be modified;  the porosity of the paper - the amount of air that can pass through it - will affect the yield, strength and taste of the cigarette.  The more air that can pass through the paper, the more the smoke constituents passing through the cigarette are diluted, which will result in lower yields of various smoke constituents when tested on a smoking machine.

The design of the filter can be varied, for example:

  • by introducing ventilation (perforations in the tipping paper) which allows for dilution of the smoke;
  • by changing its length or by increasing density (using more fibres)
  • by the diameter of the fibres; and
  • by the type of material used.

All these variations to filter design can affect the amount of filtration, and thus the taste, smoking experience and smoke yields as measured by a standardised machine method.

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Tobacco blend