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Human dosimetry

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Much of the chemical characterisation of tobacco smoke has involved collecting information on the smoking machine yields of cigarettes. This includes measuring a wide range of smoke constituents.

The machine yields of cigarettes are not necessarily representative of the yields obtained by smokers. Of specific interest are those compounds identified by external scientific groups as being important toxicants including those listed in publications produced by Fowles and Dybing, and Burns et al. [1,2]. These compounds include tobacco smoke toxicants which may be associated with the development of human diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Our work in human dosimetry, therefore, is moving beyond standard machine measurements to study smokers with the aim of obtaining yields from cigarettes through analysis of smoked cigarettes, the deposition of smoke components in the respiratory system and the amount of smoke components absorbed by the smoker which may provide an indication of biologically relevant exposure. This work is achieved through new instrumental capabilities in combination with novel analytical methods, and these allow us to:-

  1. Estimate mouth level exposure via Part Filter Analysis using spent filters obtained from smokers
  2. Study the deposition of smoke in the different anatomical regions of the respiratory system using real-time measurements of smoke aerosol and vapours combined with the measurement of puffing and inhalation behaviour
  3. Study metabolism to develop methods to identify the metabolic fate of key tobacco constituents
  4. Estimate exposure to smoke constituents through the analysis of biological samples (e.g. Urine) for smoke components and their metabolites, using biomarkers as an indicator of dose

These measurements will be vital in evaluating future reduced toxicant prototypes in the future.
These technologies and the recent results from our research are described in detail on the following pages:-


  1. Fowles, J., Dybing, E. (2003). Application of toxicological risk assessment principles to the chemical constituents of cigarette smoke. Tobacco Control 12: 424-430.
  2. Burns, D.M., Dybing, E., Gray, N., Hecht, S., Anderson, C., Sanner, T., O’Connor, R., Djordjevic, M., Dresler, C., Hainaut, P., Jarvis, M., Opperhuizen, A., Straif, K. (2008). Mandated lowering of toxicants in cigarette smoke: a description of the World Health Organisation TobReg proposal. Tobacco Control. 17: 132-141.
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