Cigarette Variability Task Force study designs, statistical considerations, initial observations, and limitations
The objective of the Cigarette Variability Task Force (CVAR TF) is to examine commercial cigarette variability through testing of select cigarette smoke and tobacco filler constituents plus select physical characteristics. To meet this objective, the CVAR TF developed studies in three phases: Phase 1 short-term - three separate samples of each product on different production days within one week; Phase 2 medium-term - quarterly samples of each product within one year; and Phase 3 long-term - annual samples of each product across three years. Commercial cigarette products from international markets were chosen to represent a range of cigarette designs (e.g. blend type and tar level) and were distributed for analytical testing for select constituents (analytes) recommended or required by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada, and STMA in China. The products selected are considered to be high production brands for the region in which they are sold. Product collections were from typical production runs with no additional controls imposed for purposes of the study. As the intent of the study is to examine commercial cigarette variability, several factors were incorporated in the study design to minimize the influence of testing (analytical) variability on the interpretation of results. Study design, statistical considerations, initial observations and limitations will be discussed.