What is tar (also known as Nicotine Free Dry Particulate Matter)?

Cigarette smoke contains tiny particles. When a cigarette is smoked on a specially designed smoking machine, the smoke particles produced are collected on a filter. The water and nicotine are then extracted and measured (according to a method defined by ISO or another standardization organization). The remaining material on the filter is then defined as "Nicotine Free Dry Particulate Matter" (NFDPM) or "Total Particulate Matter, Water and Nicotine Free" (TPMWNF). This is the tar value.


What is nicotine?

Nicotine is one of many naturally occurring plant substances, which are known collectively as alkaloids. Nicotine is found in tobacco and, in much lower quantities, in other plants. Nicotine has mild pharmacological effects when it is inhaled, and its presence in cigarette smoke has been linked to the difficulty which some people experience when quitting smoking.


What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas which is present in cigarette smoke. It is formed when organic materials, such as the tobacco leaves present in cigarettes, burn. Studies have found that carbon monoxide is capable of causing certain forms of cardiovascular disease in certain people.


What do you mean when you talk about the “yield” of tar, nicotine or carbon monoxide?

The "yield" of tar, nicotine or carbon monoxide from a cigarette means the amount of each substance that is measured according to standardized machine testing methods, such as those developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Yield numbers are printed on tobacco product packaging in many countries. However, because testing machines do not "smoke" in the same way that humans do, these numbers do not tell you precisely how much tar, nicotine and/or carbon monoxide you will inhale when smoking a particular brand. To read more, click here.


Are there any cigarettes that are less harmful than others?

The main thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette. Despite research efforts, to date, no tobacco product has emerged that is both universally believed to be associated with less adverse health effects than those already on the market and which also meets consumers' expectations.