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Nicotine Tob Res. 1999 Jun;1(2):163-8.

Nicotine concentration, smoke pH and whole tobacco aqueous pH of some cigar brands and types popular in the United States.

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Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


The present study examined characteristics relating to nicotine delivery of 17 cigar brands, which included small cigars, cigarillos, and large premium cigar brands. The cigars selected for analysis were intended to represent the range of cigar products currently available and in popular use. In addition to cigar characteristics previously studied such as size, nicotine content, and pH of their tobacco, the present study examined smoke pH on a puff-by-puff basis. The tobacco content of the cigars ranged in weight from 0.53 to 21.5 g. There was considerable variation in total nicotine content, which ranged from 5.9 to 335.2 mg per cigar. The aqueous pH of the tobacco from the cigars also varied widely with values ranging from 5.7 to 7.8. The smoke pH values of the smallest cigars was generally acidic, changed little across puffs, and more closely resembled the profiles previously reported for typical cigarettes. Interestingly, the smoke pH of smaller cigars and cigarillos became acidic after the first third of the cigar was consumed and then remained acidic thereafter, whereas larger cigars became acidic during the first third, then became quite alkaline during the last third. Because of wide variations in nicotine content of the tobacco across brands and of similarly wide variations in smoke pH, cigar size is not an accurate predictor of the nicotine delivery capacity of a particular cigar brand, although, in general, larger cigars are capable of providing larger total nicotine delivery with extraordinarily high delivery levels being possible from many of the large premium cigars. These results demonstrated that the popular cigars in this study contained enough nicotine for the development of dependence when smoking as few as one or two of the larger cigars per day.

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