BAT Science - Machine smoking

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Machine smoking

Generating tobacco smoke in a standardised manner requires highly specialised equipment. Machine smoking allows researchers to control variables such as the size and duration of puffs taken on the cigarette.

The amount of smoke yielded from a cigarette when smoked depends on many factors such as, the number of puffs taken, the puff volume and the intervals between puffs. Environmental factors such as ambient temperature, relative humidity and air-flow past the cigarette can also affect the smoke yields. It is therefore imperative that smoking conditions are monitored and stable prior to machine smoking, to ensure consistent and robust results.

We have purpose-built smoking machine laboratories where ambient conditions are carefully controlled. Most of our smoke analysis uses the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) method for smoke collection - 35ml puff sizes lasting two seconds taken every 60 seconds. However, we have the capacity to smoke to other regimes, such as; Canadian - 55ml puff size lasting two seconds taken every 30 seconds with 100% of vents blocked; and Massachusetts – 45ml puff size lasting two seconds taken every 30 seconds with 50% of vents blocked (smoke chemistry analysis). Our smoking machines can also be modified to encompass any future smoking regimes.

We use a range of smoking engines, depending upon the analysis. For routine mainstream smoke yield measurements (tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide and analysis of the Hoffmann analytes), we use the Cerulean SM450, the Borgwaldt KC LM20 linear smoking engines, and the Borgwaldt KC RM200 and RM20 D automated rotary smoking engines.

We can also use Cambridge filter pads to trap particulate matter, which in turn is used to generate a consistent total particulate matter (TPM) test compound. This compound is used in vitro analysis, and to determine NFDPM (Nicotine Free Dry particulate Matter). We also use specialised trapping systems such as gas bags and liquid impingers, depending upon the analyte of interest.

For sidestream smoke analysis we use linear Borgwaldt KC LM5 smoking engines combined with our own developed ‘Fishtail’ chimneys [1] for analyte capture and Cambridge filter pads, gas bags and liquid impingers.

The characteristics of - and differences between - the smoking engines described above were reviewed recently [2].


  1. Proctor, C. J., Martin, C., Beven, J. L., Dymond, H. F. (1988). Evaluation of an apparatus designed for the collection of sidestream tobacco smoke. Analyst. 113 (10): 1509-1513. Abstract: Evaluation of an apparatus... Opens new window
  2. Dixon, M., Borgerding, M. F. (2006). Recent advances in the application and understanding of alternative smoking regimes. Recent Advances in Tobacco Science. 32: 3-84. 
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