No Difference Between Urinary Mutagenicity in Smokers of Low-Tar and Medium-Tar Cigarettes: A Double-Blind Cross-Over Study

  • J. Tuomisto
  • S. Kolonen
  • M. Sorsa
  • P. Einistö
Part of the Archives of Toxicology book series (TOXICOLOGY, volume 9)


Urinary mutagenicity, blood carboxyhemoglobin and serum thiocyanate levels were measured in young, healthy volunteers smoking a fixed number of either low-tar (5 mg/cig.) or medium-tar (15 mg/cig.) cigarettes. The experiment was performed in a double-blind cross-over fashion. The volunteers were under daily control, and their diet and environment were standardized. The urinary mutagenic activity responded dose-dependently to the number of cigarettes smoked (0, 5, 10 or 20 per day), but there was no difference between the smokers of low-tar and medium-tar cigarettes. Neither were any significant differences found in blood carboxyhemoglobin nor serum thiocyanate. These results suggest that there is no substantial difference between the low-tar and medium-tar cigarette as to the inhalation of hazardous compounds in the real smoking situation.

Key words

Cigarette smoking Urinary mutagens Biological monitoring Carboxyhemoglobin Serum thiocyanate 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ames BN, McCann J, Yamasaki E (1975) Methods for detecting carcinogens and mutagens with Salmonella/mammalian-microsome mutagenicity test. Mutat Res 31: 347–364PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Benowitz NL, Hall SM, Herning RI, Jacob P III, Jones RT, Osman A-L (1983) Smokers of low yield cigarettes do not consume less nicotine. New Engl J Med 309: 139–142PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benowitz NL, Jacob P III (1984) Nicotine and carbon monoxide intake from high-and low-yield cigarettes. Clin Pharmacol Ther 36: 265–270PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borgers D, Junge B (1979) Thiocyanate as an indicator of tobacco smoking. Prey Med 8: 351–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Butts WC, Kyhneman M, Widdowson M (1974) Automated method for determining serum thiocyanate, to distinguish, smokers from nonsmokers. Clin Chem 20: 1344–1348PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Heinonen T, Kytöniemi V, Sorsa M, Vainio H (1983) Urinary excretion of thioethers among low-tar and medium-tar cigarette smokers. Int Arch Occup Health 52: 11–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Herning RI, Jones RT, Backman J, Mines AH (1981) Puff volume increases when low nicotine cigarettes are smoked. Brit Med J 283: 187–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hill P, Marquardt H (1980) Plasma and urine changes after smoking different brands of cigarettes. Clin Pharmacol Ther 27: 652–658PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jaffe KL, Nicholson WJ, Garro AJ (1983) Urinary mutagen levels in smokers. Cancer Lett 20: 37–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kozlowski LT, Rickert WS, Robinson JC, Grunberg NG (1980) Have tar and nicotine yields of cigarettes changed? Science 209: 1150–1151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rickert WS, Robinson JC (1981) Estimating the hazards of less hazardous cigarettes. II. Study of cigarette yields of nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide in relation to levels of cotinine, carboxyhemoglobin, and thiocyanate in smokers. J Toxicol Environm Hlth 391–403Google Scholar
  12. Sorsa M, Falck K, Heinonen T, Vainio H, Norppa H, Rimpelä M (1984) Detection of exposure to mu- tagenic compounds in low-tar and medium-tar cigarette smokers. Environ Res 33: 312–321PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Stepney R (1982) Exposure to carbon monoxide in smokers of middle-and low-tar cigarettes. Dis Chest 76: 390–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Wald NJ, Idle M, Boreham J, Bailey A (1980) Inhaling habits among smokers of different types of cigarette. Thorax 35: 925–928PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Yamasaki E, Ames BN (1977) Concentration of mutagens from urine by adsorption with the nonpolar resin XAD-2: Cigarette smokers have mutagenic urine. Natl Acad Sci USA 74: 3555–3559CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Tuomisto
    • 1
  • S. Kolonen
    • 2
  • M. Sorsa
    • 3
  • P. Einistö
    • 3
  1. 1.Deparment of Environmental Hygiene and ToxicologyNational Public Health InstituteKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of KuopioKuopioFinland
  3. 3.Institute of Occupational HealthHelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations