Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Filtrona develops new charcoal filter

Personally, I'm a fan of charcoal filters. I won't use anything else when I roll my own smokes. I have found them to make the whole smoking experience much smoother, and being that I have always been an ultra-light smoker, the smoother the better for me. I am also concerned about the issue of harm reduction. I have read quite a few studies in the past on the possible role of charcoal filters in reducing some of the harm that is associated with smoking, so naturally I became intrigued when I came across this latest news on the development of a new filter:

Colored carbon on view in ‘x-ray’ filter

Filtrona Filter Products has launched a new filter that combines a colorful visual impact with the performance benefits of carbon.

Here are but a few of the studies on charcoal filters that I have come across:

Effect of charcoal-containing cigarette filters on gas phase volatile organic compounds in mainstream cigarette smoke

Overall, the brands with the most charcoal are effective at reducing VOC deliveries under even intense smoking conditions.

Charcoal cigarette filters and lung cancer risk in Aichi
Prefecture, Japan

The lung cancer mortality rate has been lower in Japan than in
the United States for several decades. We hypothesized that this
difference is due to the Japanese preference for cigarettes with
charcoal-containing filters, which efficiently absorb selected gas
phase components of mainstream smoke including the carcinogen

Semi-volatiles in mainstream smoke delivery from select charcoal-filtered cigarette brand variants

While charcoal-containing filters selectively removed lower molecular weight PAHs from mainstream smoke, they did not significantly remove the heavier and more toxic PAHs studied, such as benzo[a]pyrene, a known carcinogen. Likewise, charcoal-containing filters removed phenols and TSNAs from mainstream smoke to differing amounts depending on the compound, filter design and the smoking regimen.

...Which is why I always use these in addition to a charcoal filter when rolling my own. Maybe someone, somewhere will eventually getting around to doing a study on filtered cigarette holders. I have not been able to find one study anywhere, which is very strange I have to say. If tobacco control were really so concerned about the harm(s) that are inflicted upon so many by worldwide tobacco use, why are there no studies on these filters? Could they not also be part of the overall solution, which is to reduce the harms associate with smoking? Ok, we already know the answer to this question and I'm getting off topic.

I can honestly say from personal experience that my lungs are much cleaner when I wake up in the morning since I have been using them along with the charcoal filters. That has to account for something, because I can feel it. Anyway, I hope to come across one of these new filters from Filtrona because I would really like to try one.

Cheerio! ..Off to rehearsal now..


  1. Actually.... there IS a little known book out there that talks about charcoal filters removing cyanide that supposedly normally acts to freeze the cilia. I'm fairly sure the title was "Smoking IS Safe" but I can't tie it down on Google and Amazon doesn't seem to have it listed among their 9 million titles.

    I've only seen ONE copy of the book. It was roughly 30 years ago in a dusty area of the library at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Sciences. I read it, and it seemed to be sort of a somewhat amateur / somewhat professional account of discovering the usefulness of the charcoal filter and then developing ways to make its use practical. The author VERY highly touted it as producing a "safe" cigarette. I think it was published in the late 60s.

    At some point years later I found a reference someplace criticizing it, claiming that it was a "front book" for whatever company was making Tareytons or Larks (the two big charcoal brands back then.

    Might be worth googling around some more Juliette. At the time I read it I thought it was pretty good. I actually DID switch over to smoking Tareytons for a number of years after reading it.

    - MJM

  2. Thanks for commenting on this Michael. I have never heard of the book "Smoking is Safe", but I do recall coming across an older (ie., from way back in the day...on the internet somewhere...) critique/study (somewhere online?) that criticized the use of charcoal filters because there was some man (who was a proponent of charcoal filters) that (later in life) developed lung cancer; therefore, the hypothesis was that the filters were somehow defective. He smoked 3 PACKS OF CIGARETTES A DAY!! That's what stood out in my memory...not that charcoal filters were somehow defective, but that this man chain-smoked day and night for decades!? I'm sorry, but anyone who smokes that much is asking for my humble opinion. Have you come across similar critiques? ..Just curious.. No one is supposed to do anything that much. Maybe there is some hope for charcoal filters, coupled with the concept of moderation? Thanks for your insight; I now have another book to add to my reading list. Hopefully I can find it:-)

  3. FOUND IT! :>


    From the Congressional Record, March 27, 1968, Sen. Warren Magnuson, D-WA: "A similar dispute arose early last year on publication of the book, Is It Safe To Smoke by Hawthorne Books Inc., New York. The book concluded that it was "safer" to smoke cigarets having charcoal filters, such as Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co.'s Lark brand. Several industry sources, in fact, say the book amounts almost to a commercial for Lark. Liggett & Myers denies, however, that it subsidized the book. Hawthorne's chairman and president, W. Clement Stone, says, "There are a lot of things that happened with that book that I didn't approve of." He won't elaborate. Hawthorne agreed last April to discontinue sales of the book after the deceptive practices division of the Federal Trade Commission began investigating the advertising."

    Magnuson / Congressional Record 1968 tobacco document


    Although my memory of the title is somewhat different: I'm pretty sure it was "It IS Safe to Smoke"

    Hmmm.... AHHHH!!!!

    There ya go m'lady! Looks like there are THREE copies out there in the Amazon universe! Order two of 'em and bring one to Philly for me next time you're touring the East Coast!

    Found it courtesy of

    after a Google of:

    book "charcoal filters" smoking is safe


  4. Thanks Michael! I just ordered two:-) ...guess that means that we'll have to take a tour of the East Coast so I can give you a

    BTW, Are you aware of any studies on harm reduction and cigarette holder/filters? It seems strange to me that a search turns up nothing on the issue.

  5. There's an excellent "Harm Reduction" blog you might want to visit:

    It's run by good folks, not Antis at all (The true Antis of course want no "reduction" of anything: just elimination.)

    Unfortunately the Antismokers pretty much killed most research into producing safer smoking since it didn't fit with that agenda. There were some good people doing good work in the areas from the 70s through the 90s but that's pretty much all gone now, forced into oblivion by the Master Settlement Agreement. Dr. Gori, previous head of the National Cancer Institute, had pushed very hard for the development of "safer cigarettes" but because most of the research money for that sort of thing came from Big Tobacco he was vilified as being "in their pocket" and his research efforts pretty much destroyed.

    Looking forward to the tour m'lady! I might even be able to dig up a venue or two for you, although since the ban a lot of places have had to go to door collections for payments. :/

    - MJM

  6. "There's an excellent "Harm Reduction" blog you might want to visit:"

    Thanks Michael! I'll be sure to check it out.

    I have become quite familiar with Dr. Gori (and his books) over the last few years. I have always wondered about what went, why the Tobacco Working Group was dismantled during the Carter Administration. Here's what I don't get: Why is it that virtually none of the MSA $$ goes into research for harm reduction? It just doesn't make sense to me. Ok, I get the fact that our government hates tobacco company money (ok...not really), especially for research into harm reduction, but why do they take it out on the smoker? They're taking our money after all. We deserve better. There are needle exchanges for heroin addicts, for chrissakes...and tobacco is LEGAL. It's just wrong on so many levels.

  7. Jredheadgirl I fell upon your links for disposable cigarette filters and I decided to give it a try.

    I am trying to find any study or someone to tell me responsibly what's the whole situation with disposable filters (crafe away) but I can't find anything

    Feedback from myself and other people is positive.But I don't know anything about them

    Good job with your blog and the postings on Forces,btw have you got a facebook page ?

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  9. Karagiannis,

    I have not been able to find any studies on tar blocker/cigarette holders either, which is strange. You would think that some agency somewhere that's involved in public health would jump at the chance to study something that could potentially save the lives of millions of smokers. Unfortunately, the folks at the FDA, the NCI (an assumption, on my part), as well as that of the many private foundations that exist, well, they just don't seem to be interested in harm reduction when it comes to smokers and the issue of tobacco. Pardon my cynicism, but there just doesn't appear to be any money in harm reduction.

    What's really stunning is that most smokers have never even heard of cigarette holder/tar blockers before! The only reason that I found about them is because, well, I spent a lot of time looking around/searching for anything that could help smokers like us who enjoy the act and ritual of smoking as a way to relax at the end of the day. Not too long ago, I went into an old tobacco/cigar shop that's been owned and operated by the same family for generations. They had some pretty cool cigarette holders there, so I started asking questions about their history. That's when the shop owner told me that Denicotea holders have been on the market for 40 YEARS! How can something like this be on the market for 40 YEARS, and STILL smokers (er, 99%) have never heard about them? ...and NO studies from the very people who purport to want to help us?? ..Very strange... There may be some studies that exist, maybe in Germany (where Denicotea originates), in China (where Sanda is made), in Japan ( Friend Holder, etc..), but google hasn't turned up anything. TarGard is from the U.S.. They do have this on their site: (click on the link about the Venturi Principle)

    One thing that I can say is that since I've been using the added filtration, I have noticed the difference significantly. I don't need a scientist to tell me what I already know: my morning cough is GONE (I'm not a heavy smoker, btw...I'm a nighttime smoker, lol), and that has got to be a good thing:-)

  10. In the past(10-15 yrs ago) I remember just one person using them but he went unnoticed,since I wasn't smoking at that time

    Feedback from some extra other people I have asked and have tried them is positive.Reviews on websites are positive.

    I am using at the moment this one , and although I haven't reduced the number of cigarettes smoked (15-20) ,the fact that I don't inhale some of the tar/nicotine certainly must do some or more good
    I am pushing questions to the pro-choice groups in order to see what the heck is going on with those disposable filters and no one even mentions them as a harm reduction tool

    As for the formal health authorities,don't even mention it...The harm reductionists? B.Rhodu and C.Philips are focused on snus/e-cig respectively , so I don't believe they would have come up an unbiased answer

    I have only found this,but this is not a study ofcourse

    I believe it's maybe the idea that they are promoted from its own manufactures as a quit smoking aid rather than continue enjoying smoking in a more harmless way? Perhaps?

    If you do find something,please post it

  11. "I am using at the moment this one"


    You might like these:

    I am using at the moment this one

    The David Ross filters have a similar disposable filter on the inside of the holder, which is pretty cool because the filter is hidden. These are a bit pricier, but worth it if they work/fit your style.

    The clear disposable filters work quite well and they're always good to have around because they're cheap, so if you lose a box, it's no big deal. I keep them in my car, on in my purse, case I forget to bring out my my Sanda and Denicotea holders. In my opinion, the filters with double filtration (..a no brainer) filter out the most...Like the Sanda holder, for example. The Denicotea filters out quite a bit, but not as much as those filters with the double filtration. I usually use the Denicotea or a disposable filter if the cigarette is already an ultra light. Most of the time though, I go for the double filtration, which ironically, doesn't really change the taste all that much. If I end up with a smoke that has no charcoal filter, I'll use the Crown Carbon filter/holder to get double filtration with the added benefit of carbon/charcoal. I will not to smoke any tobacco without charcoal being in the equation somewhere...

    I hope that this helps. Maybe start out with the cheaper holders first, to see which kind of filtration works best for you. If you stick with it, you'll most likely feel a difference after some time has passed:-)

  12. Found your blog while researching new ideas for filter/holders. Very impressed by your research and info on harm-reduction. Thank you!!! I hand-roll my own as needed--don't want the fuss of a machine--but I would like more reduction in tar and nicotine than using only Denicotea filters as I have done for the past year or so. Plus, my local supply of filter cartridges is finally tapped out. Do you roll your own with a charcoal filter, such as the Gizeh silver tips, added to the mix? Love the holders on The Lady Smokes, but want a reduction in the heavy stuff. It's taking a toll, and I'm not willing to buy factory-mades or tubes to sacrifice taste and convenience. Not ready to quit, yet, either. Any advice would be dearly appreciated. This is becoming a more difficult hobby than I would have ever imagined!!!!

  13. KristaEllVee,

    Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I always use Gizeh charcoal filters to roll my ciggies. I mix a high end tobacco (for the taste) with expanded tobacco (to cut down on tar). In addition to that, I use this little gizmo called a "Smoke Smart" ( to poke a couple of holes (allowing oxygen to enter into the mix, thus further cutting down on the tar intake)in the filter when I am done rolling each cigarette. Then when I am ready to smoke, I insert my freshly rolled ciggie into one of my favorite Sanda cigarette holders/filters (which btw, prevents my mouth from covering the air-holes in the filter) and enjoy a much labored over smoke. It sounds complicated, but I like the end result: a good tasting cigarette that isn't too heavy or generic tasting. I don't smoke a lot (just a few at the end of the day), but when I do, I really enjoy it. As you can probably tell, this has become somewhat of a hobby for me. As a result of my hobby, I have acquired all kinds of gizmos (tin for my tobacco, leather case for my papers and filters, etc...) that I carry around with me should I need to roll one on the spot:-)

    BTW, the Denicotea L-Filter filters out more than the Denicotea regular filter. If you use the large filter, then you'll need a longer holder that fits with the longer filter. You can find both here (no, I'm not making any $$ off of this...I wish):

    The Sanda/friend holders have double filtration. I use these all of the time. You can find these via the links that are located on the upper right hand side of this page.

    Before the Neo-Do-Gooders of (Counter) Do-Gooderism come over to this page screaming "blasphemy",I'm not saying that you should smoke, but if you do, the extra filtration can't hurt:-)

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