Skip to main content
TSRC, Tob. Sci. Res. Conf., 2023, 76, abstr. 21

The concentrations of selected toxic metals in three categories of commercial cigar products

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

Smoking is considered to be a primary cause of preventable death, with major attention focused on cigarettes. While cigarette sales have declined over the last two decades, cigars have gained popularity resulting in increased sales. However, very little data is available on harmful and potentially harmful constituent (HPHC) concentrations in cigars. With cigar use rising, further research on product characteristics is necessary. In this study, we analyzed a selection of commercially available cigars using inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) to determine the concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, nickel, and lead. The cigars tested represented three product categories: large machine-made cigars, cigarillos, and filtered cigars. The metals of interest were quantified and a high content of arsenic, cadmium, and nickel, which are considered Group 1 carcinogens for humans, was observed in all cigar groups. Products in the filtered cigar category had the highest variability for samples tested, while products in the large cigar category had the highest concentrations of chromium and nickel. The analysis of the multiple cigar categories show that the presence of select toxic metals in the filler material at levels sufficient enough to warrant additional research to elucidate the potential health impact these analytes have on consumers. Given the concentrations of toxic metals in the cigar products tested, the mainstream smoke inhaled by consumers while smoking may possibly contain these harmful constituents.