PUB - Product Use Behaviour (formerly Smoking Behaviour) - 1996


  1. To critique and review published papers on all aspects of tobacco and related products' use behaviour, and publish the critical reviews in peer-reviewed journals.
  2. To examine unpublished reports and work on the subject within Member Organisations, with a view to recommending publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  3. To identify gaps in total information and suggest suitable work to provide the necessary information.

The Smoking Behaviour (TSB) Sub-Group was set up in 1996, originally as a committee reporting directly to the Scientific Commission.

In January 2017, the Sub-Group changed its name to "Product Use Behaviour (PUB)" to better reflect the extension of its work on vapour products and its developing role in validating behavioural instruments and questionnaires to support reduced risk substantiation.

The Sub-Group meets typically twice a year. Nevertheless, because much of the group's work is involved largely with reviewing and writing, most of its activities are done by a nominated group of individual members between meetings. The Sub-Group holds joint meetings with the Biomarker (BMK) Sub-Group and there is a significant overlap in the membership of the two Sub-Groups.

Within the framework of the first objective of the Sub-Group, five reviews have been written and published by its members on smoker compensation; studies of ventilation hole blocking by smokers; various biomarkers, including the uptake of nicotine and its metabolism:

In 2004, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) produced a standard vocabulary for tobacco terms but this did not cover many aspects of human use of the products. Therefore, the Sub-Group published in the same year, a set of terms to describe exposure to smoke. The definitions offered in this paper were based on many years of practical experience and on consensus within a broad group of scientists working in these areas. It was intended that, with wider and more consistent usage, these definitions would reduce any misunderstandings and facilitate interpretation of future studies.

  • Baker R.R., Dixon M., Mariner D.C., Shepperd C.J., Scherer G., Ogden M.W., Robinson J.H., Sinclair N.M., Sherwood N., Akiyama Y., Sakamoto K., Röper W., Tricker A.R., Marchand V., Varignon B., Lionetti G. Seminars in Tobacco Science: Terms Used for Exposure to Smoke; Beiträge Tabakforsch. Int. 21(4) (2004) 250.

Following this work, papers on other aspects of smoking behaviour and smoke exposure were published in the literature which addressed possible regulatory aspects of tobacco products based on smoking behaviour and exposure studies as outlined by the WHO TobReg reports and those of the USA Institute of Medicine (IOM). Furthermore, the availability of hand-held smoking recording devices has facilitated the gathering of data on the puffing aspects of smoking behaviour and smoke exposure. In view of these various publications, it appeared that the terms used to describe cigarette smoke exposure had evolved. The terms described by Baker et al. were no longer comprehensive and required the addition of new terms to address current knowledge of smoking behaviour and smoke exposure measurement. Consequently, the Sub-Group recently updated these terms.

In January 2016, the Scientific Commission updated the Sub-Group's first objective to include tobacco related products within the scope of the group's activities.

In the framework of the second objective, much on-going work has been presented by several members of the Sub-Group, at least once a year. These works, retrospectively or proactively discussed, produced lively group discussion on issues which are of regulatory interest. Many of the studies have subsequently been presented at CORESTA Congresses and meetings of the Smoke Science and Product Technology Groups. There is clearly great interest in subjects such as smoking topography, smoking compensation, product/population comparison, attractiveness, addictiveness & product abuse liability, and more recently e-cigarette use.

In addition to these objectives, the member laboratories occasionally take part in ring trials and collaborative studies. Indeed, the Sub-Group has carried out joint experiments leading to the publication of a recommended method for the estimation of smokers' mouth-level exposure based on the results obtained during the 2011, 2012 and 2014 ring trials.

  • Technical Report: Part Filter Method 2012 Ring Trial  (February 2013)
  • Technical Report: Results of the 2014 CORESTA Part-Filter Method Ring Trial and Comparison with the 2012 Ring Trial  (June 2015)
  • CRM 80: Use of the Part-Filter Method for the Estimation of Smokers' Exposure to Nicotine and Nicotine-Free Dry Particulate Matter  (January 2016)

This methodology allows the evaluation of how different products are smoked based on estimation of mouth level exposure to nicotine.

Recently, a collaborative study was carried out to evaluate the accuracy and precision of smoking topography devices. Indeed, commercial and proprietary smoking topography instruments have been available and used for many years. However, there is limited information regarding validation of instruments used for smoking topography. This study provides validation data for the most frequently used devices, with the objective of filling gaps in the literature. The study measures puff volume and puff duration with four different types of human topography devices, using two commercial cigarettes that represent the low and higher end pressure drops (PD) of commercial products. The data collected was used to determine the accuracy of each device.

  • Technical Report: Puffing Topography Inter-lab Study  (January 2017)

As part of the group's revised first objective focusing on tobacco related products, a review of e-cigarette use behaviour studies has recently been published as follows: 


Updated November 2020