Cigarette filter

History and Manufacture of Cigarette Filters

  • In 1925, Boris Aivaz patented the process of making a cigarette filter from crepe paper.
  • From 1935, Molins Machine Co Ltd developed a machine that made cigarettes incorporating the tipped filter.
  • Filter cigarettes were considered safer, leading to their dominance in the market by the 1960s.
  • Production of filter cigarettes rose from 0.5% in 1950 to 87.7% by 1975.
  • The length of cigarettes increased from 70mm to 80, 85, 100, or 120mm.
  • Cigarette filters are usually made from plastic cellulose acetate fiber, paper, or activated charcoal.
  • Cellulose acetate is made by esterifying bleached cotton or wood pulp with acetic acid.
  • Flavors, sweeteners, softeners, flame retardants, breakable capsules, and additives may be added to cigarette filters.
  • The five largest manufacturers of filter tow are Celanese, Eastman Chemicals, Cerdia, Daicel, and Mitsubishi Rayon.
  • Starch glues or emulsion-based adhesives are used for gluing cigarette seams.

Color Change and Health Risks of Cigarette Filters

  • The cellulose acetate used in filters can change color when exposed to smoke.
  • The tobacco industry modified the pH of the cellulose acetate to create the illusion of filtration.
  • The industry prioritized the perception of filters being effective for marketing purposes.
  • The actual effectiveness of filters in reducing health risks is debated.
  • Epidemiologic evidence in the 1970s suggested a reduced risk of tobacco-related cancers and coronary heart disease among filter smokers.
  • Some studies indicated a 20-50% reduction in the risk of lung cancer for long-term smokers of filtered cigarettes.
  • Later studies showed a similar risk for lung cancer in smokers of filtered and non-filtered cigarettes.
  • The risk reductions depend on factors such as gender, athleticism, study location, and age.
  • Various add-on cigarette filters are sold as stop-smoking or tar-reduction devices.

Light Cigarettes and Safety of Cigarette Filters

  • The tobacco industry has reduced tar and nicotine yields in cigarette smoke since the 1960s.
  • Changes in cigarette design and manufacturing include the use of selected tobacco strains and high-porosity wrapping papers.
  • Smokers tend to modify their smoking patterns based on the strength of the cigarette being smoked.
  • Switching to low-tar, low-nicotine cigarettes may lead to smoking more cigarettes and inhaling more deeply.
  • The use of filters and light cigarettes did not decrease nicotine intake per cigarette or lower the incidence of health issues.
  • Cellulose acetate is non-toxic, odorless, tasteless, and weakly flammable.
  • It is resistant to weak acids and largely stable to oils and petroleum.
  • Cellulose acetate is hydrophilic and retains water-soluble smoke constituents.
  • It lets through lipophilic aromatic compounds.
  • Smoked cigarette butts contain nicotine and other irritating chemicals.

Environmental Impact and Solutions for Cigarette Filters

  • Approximately 4.5 trillion cigarette butts become litter every year.
  • The plastic cellulose acetate in cigarette butts biodegrades gradually.
  • Environmental conditions affect the breakdown of cigarette butts.
  • Cigarette butts can leach toxins into the environment.
  • Governments have imposed penalties for littering cigarette filters.
  • Developing biodegradable filters is an option.
  • Implementing monetary deposits on filters can encourage proper disposal.
  • Increasing the availability of cigarette receptacles can reduce littering.
  • Banning the sale of filtered cigarettes may be considered.

Alternative Uses and Recycling of Cigarette Filters

  • Cigarette filter waste can be converted into high-performing supercapacitor electrode material.
  • Research is being conducted to find ways to use filter waste for other products.
  • Adding tablets of food-grade acid inside filters can accelerate degradation.
  • Using cellulose triacetate instead of cellulose acetate can speed up biodegradation.
  • Exploring the secondary mechanism for photodegradation can lead to better biodegradable filters.
  • Used cigarette filters can be repurposed for various applications, including energy storage materials for supercapacitors.
  • Research has been conducted on the preparation of energy storage materials derived from used cigarette filters.
  • Biodegradable cigarette filters have been proposed as a solution to the litter problem.
  • Efforts have been made to develop biodegradable filters that can help reduce the environmental impact of cigarette litter.
  • Recycling programs and initiatives have been implemented to encourage the proper disposal and recycling of cigarette filters.

Cigarette filter Data Sources

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