In 1936, B&W introduced Viceroy as the industry’s first cork-tipped filter product. In 1952, B&W began marketing Viceroy with a new “cellulose acetate” filter. In 1954, Reynolds Tobacco introduced Winston – the first filter cigarette to achieve a major success in the marketplace. 95% of cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate (a plastic), and the balance are made from papers and rayon. The cellulose acetate tow fibers are thinner than sewing thread, white, and packed tightly together to create a filter; they can look like cotton.
Cigarette filters are intended to reduce the amount of smoke, tar, and fine particles inhaled during the combustion of a cigarette, but have no actual proven health benefits. Filters also reduce the harshness of the smoke and keep tobacco flakes out of the smoker’s mouth.A cork wrap was used because the fine paper of the rest of the cigarette had a tendency to stick to the lips when damp, which in turn caused the mouth end to fall to bits and leave shreds of tobacco in the mouth. Cork avoided this.
But synthetic fibers in cigarette mouthpieces created new problems. In the 1960s, Philip Morris scientists noticed that mouthpieces shed tiny fibers that could be inhaled into the lungs. The industry called it “fallout.”
Even when filters weren’t toxic, scientists realized that any material that effectively trapped particles also weakened the cigarette’s kick. Today most manufacturers use a method called ventilation to dilute the smoke: the paper wrapper, perforated from end to end by a constellation of tiny holes, pulls in fresh air. But studies have shown that smokers now drag harder to compensate. “It’s like saying you’re going to have the same bowl of ice cream, but you’re going to eat with a very small spoon,” says Bradford Harris, a Stanford graduate student who reviewed industry documents discussing filter problems.
Even now filters don’t make cigarettes safe, though many still come wrapped in paper printed to look like cork — a throwback to that carefree era of inhaling, when the big worry was smeared lipstick. Filters are the deadliest fraud in the history of human civilization. They are put on cigarettes to save on the cost of tobacco and to fool people. They don’t filter at all. In the U.S., 400,000 people a year die from cigarettes — and those cigarettes almost all have filters.
Viewing the white face of the cigarette filter with the naked eye and compression of the filter column with the fingers would suggest that the filter is made of a sponge-like material. However, opening the cigarette filter, by cutting it lengthwise with a razor, reveals that it consists of a fibrous mass. Spreading apart the matrix reveals some of the more than 12 000 white fibers. Microscopically, these fibers are Y shaped and contain the delustrant titanium dioxide. The fibers are made of cellulose acetate, a synthetic plastic-like substance used commonly for photographic films. A plasticiser, triacetin (glycerol triacetate), is applied to bond the fibers.
TAGS:CIGARETTE FILTER, CIGARETTES