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Heavy Metal Content in Mainstream Cigarette Smoke of Common Cigarettes Sold in Kenya, and their Toxicological Consequences

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Physical and Biological Sciences, Moi University, P.O Box 3900, Eldoret, KENYA
  • 2 Department of Chemistry, Egerton University, P.O Box 536, Egerton, KENYA

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 4, Issue (6), Pages 75-79, June,22 (2015)


Over the years tobacco research has focused heavily on the toxic organic components of cigarette smoke while giving little attention to the toxicological implications caused by heavy metals in mainstream cigarette smoking. Whereas, it is not in doubt that organic toxins and their corresponding free radicals are directly responsible for a myriad of problems affecting smokers, the clinical effects caused by heavy metals in tobacco burning cannot be ignored. Accordingly, this study investigates the heavy metal content in the gas-phase mainstream cigarette smoke of common cigarettes sold in Kenya and their toxicological implications. Two cigarette brands (SM1 and ES1), and one traditional cigarette (Trd) were selected for this study. To mimic actual cigarette smoking conditions, smoking apparatus were designed according to ISO 3402:1999 standards. Five conditioned cigarettes were smoked per sample. All experiments were conducted in replicates to enhance reproducibility of data. The heavy metal content was determined using atomic absorption spectrometer, AAS, (Shimadzu 6200). The mean results showed that lead had the highest concentration in all cigarette brands; 6.776±0.02, 6.984±0.03 and 7.119±0.0.05 µgg-1 for traditional (Trd), SM1, and ES1 cigarettes respectively. On the other hand, the lowest heavy metal concentration was cadmium with respectively 0.084±0.004, 0.090±0.002, and 0.030±0.002 µgg-1 for SM1, ES1, and traditional cigarettes. Moreover, chromium, copper, and zinc were also investigated. The concentration of lead, cadmium, chromium, copper, and zinc partitioned in the cigarette ash of each cigarette blend is also reported in this work.


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